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Radio station director charged with libel in Guinea

The managing director of Planète FM, Mandian Sidibe, has been charged with libel and placed under judicial review by a Magistrates' Court in Conakry, the capital, for comments he made during a radio programme.

The charge of libel followed a complaint lodged against him by the Dixinn Court, formerly known as the office of the president.

Confirming the charge on 4 July 2013, Lawyer Souleymane Balde, Sidibe's counsel, explained that the Dixinn Court accused Sidibe of making defamatory utterances during a discussion programme on Planète FM.

According to the complainants, Sidibe had said that “there are people who are ready to scuttle the holding of the legislative elections in Guinea. … [there are] quarrels within the ruling party, RPG, that have the tendency to dash any possibility of holding the elections on the appointed date. Know that I am being weighed down by threats of kidnapping and physical elimination.”

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is worried about the charge of libel handed to the journalist and calls for a fair and expeditious trial. We call on media associations and groups in Guinea to stand in support of Sidibe considering the attacks he and Planète FM have endured these past months.

Planete FM – owned by outspoken opposition leader, Abubacarr Sylla – has been subjected to a series of attacks, including recent gunshots at their premises by armed police officers.

Sidibe recently survived a one-month suspension imposed on him by the media regulator, the National Communications Council (CNC). The suspension was, however, overturned by the Supreme Court upon the intervention of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

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