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Newspaper editor arrested for publishing "confidential information"

Cover of 31 January 2012 issue of
Cover of 31 January 2012 issue of "Le Patriote"
Le Patriote
(RSF/IFEX) - 1 February 2012 - Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate release of Charles Sanga, the managing editor of the daily Le Patriote, who was arrested by the Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DST), an intelligence agency, last night in Abidjan for allegedly “publishing confidential information.”

In an exclusive in yesterday's Le Patriote, journalist Jean-Claude Coulibaly reported that the Constitutional Council had decided to annul the 11 December parliamentary elections in 11 districts where the results were disputed. The council has not yet announced its decision.

The authorities reacted to the story's publication by summoning Coulibaly to the DST for interrogation and by demanding that the newspaper reveal its sources. Sanga refused to comply.

“If Le Patriote broke the law by pre-empting a state entity's prerogative to publish information, then it may be punished, but not by jailing its editor or the reporter who wrote the story,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Under Côte d'Ivoire's 2004 media law, journalists cannot be detained for media offences, so Charles Sanga must be released. Furthermore, the DST's attempt to force him to reveal his sources violates a basic principle of media freedom.”

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