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Two "Le Répère" newspaper journalists convicted of insulting president

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 31 March 2009, reporter Nanankoua Gnamantéh and managing editor Eddy Péhé of pro-opposition weekly "Le Répère" were convicted of "insulting" Ivorian President Laurent Gbabgo and ordered to pay fines of 20 million FCFA (approx. US$ 40,000).

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent reported that the Plateau Magistrate Court in Abidjan, presided over by Koné Assata, additionally suspended "Le Répère" for two months and also ordered the newspaper to retract the offending article and render an apology in the state-owned "Le Matin" newspaper or, in default, pay an additional five million FCFA (approx. US$ 10,000).

Nanankoua was arrested and detained at the Abidjan civil prison on 19 March, following an allegation he made in "Le Répère" on 6 March linking President Gbagbo and some of his party officials to acts of corruption. He was, however, released on 1 April.

On 24 March, the state prosecutor requested the court to jail Nanankoua, suspend the newspaper and fine the two for the offence.

Meanwhile lawyers for the two journalists have expressed their intention to appeal the court's judgment.

Updates the "Le Répère" case:

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"The ruling shows that independent journalism is now effectively a crime in (Burma)."…

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