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Pro-Ouattara newspapers back on newsstands in Abidjan

(RSF/IFEX) - 20 December 2010 - Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that newspapers that support Alassane Ouattara, were again available on newsstands this morning in Abidjan after being banned during the weekend by the supporters of Laurent Gbagbo.

The National Press Council (CNP), which regulates the print media, had issued a communiqué on 18 December condemning raids by Republican Guard members on the publishing house Edipresse and on the Olympe and Sud Actions Médias printing presses which had paralyzed distribution of the opposition newspapers.

In the communiqué, CNP president Eugène Dié Kacou said the raids "were not the result of a decision by any competent authorities and constituted an unacceptable attack on media freedom and the public's right to diverse news and information." Reporters Without Borders had also voiced alarm about the raids in a release on 17 December.

The opposition newspapers Le Démocrate, Le Mandat, Le Nouveau Réveil, Le Patriote and Le Jour Plus and the independent daily L'Intelligent d'Abidjanwere have all been distributed today. L'Expression and Nord-Sud are the only newspapers that were not published today but that was as a result of decisions by their management.

Reporters Without Borders nonetheless continues to be very worried about the media's ability to operate in Côte d'Ivoire. At least 10 foreign journalists have been arrested during the clashes of the past few days between Ouattara supporters and security forces loyal to Gbagbo, and some have had their equipment confiscated.

The climate of fear created by these incidents is preventing both foreign and local journalists from being able to work freely.

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