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Newspaper suspended for criticising the country's ombudsman

(MFWA/IFEX) - Guinea's media regulatory body, the National Council for Communication (CNC), on 10 June 2011 suspended "Le Défi", a privately-owned weekly newspaper, for two months over a commentary that the CNC said was defamatory of General Facinet Touré, the country's ombudsman.

"Le Défi", which has been accused of disregarding the country's professional ethics and code of conduct that govern the media, will be out of circulation until 10 August 2011.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the suspension stemmed from a 30 May 2011 commentary headlined: "National Unity: The problem with Facinet Touré" on page 3 of "Le Défi." The commentary, written by Bah Thierno Mamadou, the newspaper's publisher, condemned General Facinet Touré and demanded his removal from the position of ombudsman over his alleged recent divisive statements against the Peulh ethnic group.

The correspondent said Touré, a retired army general, had claimed in a press statement in May that the Peulh ethnic group had dominated the Guinean economy to the detriment of other ethnic groups in the country and that Peulhs must let others share political power in Guinea or there would be chaos in the country.

The CNC summoned Mamadou following a defamation complaint by General Touré.

"The CNC advisory council asked me if I admit these charges. I said I did not. They then told me that the conversation had ended. I was very surprised when I heard on the radio and television that my newspaper had been suspended," explained Mamadou on a private radio station, Planet FM.

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