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RSF urges authorities to implement 2010 press laws

(RSF/IFEX) - 27 May 2011 - Reporters Without Border is ending a five-day visit to Conakry today by giving a news conference at the Conakry Press Club to present its initial findings on the media situation in Guinea and to announce its recommendations to the country's authorities.

The visiting Reporters Without Borders team consisted of the information director, Gilles Lordet, and the head of the Africa Desk, Ambroise Pierre. They met with representatives of the National Communication Council (CNC), the supreme court president, the head of the National Transitional Council (CNT), the justice minister, communication ministry officials, representatives of the ministry of territorial administration and decentralization, the government general secretary, leading media figures and several journalists' associations.

Reporters Without Borders was pleased to find an atmosphere of calm that allows reporters to work unhindered, and a renewed vitality in the media following the 2010 presidential election, although journalism is still clearly a precarious form of employment. The media often voice opinions with much more freedom than in some other African countries.

The organization nonetheless found that no progress has been made on certain issues, which raises questions about the intention of President Alpha Condé's government to consolidate press freedom. As the authorities begin a long and fragile transition that will hopefully lead to democracy, we hope to convince them of the importance of free speech as a democratic value.

Two laws affecting media, one creating the High Communication Authority (HAC) and one on access to information, were promulgated by Gen. Sékouba Konaté in June and December 2010. However, they have not yet been published in the official gazette and have not yet been implemented.

Reporters Without Borders has learned that three journalists were fired as news presenters on state-owned Radio Télévision Guinéenne (RTG) at the start of May. The organization wonders why, and calls for an explanation. The journalists themselves were not given any reason in writing.

In preparation for the parliamentary elections that are to be held before the end of the year, Reporters Without Borders will provide Guinea's journalists with copies of its Handbook for Journalists during Elections, which it produced in cooperation with l'Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

During a meeting at the ministry of territorial administration and decentralization, Reporters Without Borders said it was important that security forces respect the work of journalists covering the election campaign and the polling.

In July, Reporters Without Borders will issue a report containing its analysis of media freedom in Guinea and all of its recommendations to the authorities and the media, in detail.

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To read the full press release, click here

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