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Opposition press resumes publishing; newspaper executive questioned amid reprisals against pro-Gbagbo media

(RSF/IFEX) - "Notre Voie", a daily that supports former President Laurent Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), was on sale on 23 May 2011 in Abidjan for the first time since Gbagbo's ouster on 11 April. The newspaper's offices had been ransacked and occupied by soldiers loyal to the new President, Alassane Ouattara, which prevented its journalists from working.

Officers from the Press Support and Development Fund (FSDP) recently visited the headquarters of pro-Gbagbo newspapers that were attacked and ransacked during the prolonged post-election crisis. Other pro-Gbagbo newspapers such as "Le Temps", "Le Nouveau Courrier d'Abidjan", "Le Quotidien d'Abidjan" and "Prestige Mag" are expected to resume publishing in the next few days.

After President Ouattara assumed power, Reporters Without Borders voiced concern that the pro-Gbagbo press would be suppressed at the expense of media diversity. Although "Notre Voie" has been guilty of excesses in the past, Reporters Without Borders regards its reappearance as an encouraging sign of respect for pluralism.

In a more recent development, Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that Nina Bolou, the personnel director of the company that publishes the daily "Le Temps", was freed on the evening of 24 May after being arrested earlier that morning by forces loyal to President Alassane Ouatarra and questioned about her work for the newspaper, which supports the FPI.

The press freedom organisation reiterates its condemnation of her arrest, which resembled an abduction and seemed designed to intimidate the staff of a newspaper that is due to resume publishing in the next few days. It is unacceptable that news media should be the target of reprisals because of their support for Gbagbo.

Bolou's arrest coincides with the news that Sylvain Gagnetaud, a pro-Gbagbo presenter on Radio Yopougon and leading member of the Professional Journalists Organisation of Côte d'Ivoire, was murdered in the Abidjan suburb of Yopougon in early May.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Related stories on ifex.org
  • One journalist killed, several others in hiding

    The bullet-ridden body of Radio Yopougon assistant editor-in-chief Lago Sylvain Gagneto was found among dozens of bodies buried in mass graves in Yopougon, an Abidjan neighborhood.

Case history


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