Monday , June 17 2024

Guinea Junta Shuts Down Major Private Media Outlets Amid Growing Repression

Guinea’s military-dominated government has revoked the licenses of four major private radio stations and one private television channel, according to a statement from the Ministry of Information on Wednesday.

The stations affected are FIM FM, Radio Espace FM, Sweet FM, and Djoma FM, along with Djoma TV. The government cited non-compliance with unspecified content regulations as the reason for the ban.

This move is the latest in a series of media restrictions imposed by the junta, which took power in the West African nation in 2021.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the ban, urging the government to cease its repression of the media. “The repression of the media must stop,” RSF wrote on X, formerly Twitter, noting that authorities had promised to alleviate the already dire situation for media outlets.

RSF reported that four private radio stations have faced constant jamming since November, three private television channels have become nearly inaccessible, and at least three news websites were blocked for several weeks in 2023.

Additionally, internet access was restricted for several weeks at the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, and a press union leader was detained for over a month, leading to a general strike.

Guinea currently ranks 78th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2024 press freedom index.

Since the junta banned demonstrations in 2022, numerous opposition leaders, civil society members, and journalists have been arrested. Amnesty International reported that at least 47 people, mostly young, have died in protests since 2021.

Under pressure from the regional bloc ECOWAS, the military agreed to hold elections by the end of 2024 after a transitional period for reforms. However, Prime Minister Amadou Oury Bah has recently indicated that the military might need to stay in power until at least 2025.

Junta leader General Mamady Doumbouya has not commented on the election timeline.

In response, the FNDC, a prominent civil society collective, threatened to resume protests if the junta does not commit to transferring power by the end of the year. Similarly, the opposition coalition National Alliance for Alternation and Democracy (ANAD) echoed this demand on Saturday.

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