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Guinea: press associations accuse the junta of censorship

Guinea: press associations accuse the junta of censorship
A fan holds up a newspaper during a concert commemorating the first ...   -  
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CELLOU BINANI/AFP or licensors


Guinean press associations on Thursday accused the ruling junta of censorship, in the face of the restriction or blocking of access to news sites and popular social networks, in a tense context of political protest.

They also denounced a raid carried out on Wednesday by gendarmes at Afric Vision in Conakry and the seizure of the transmitters of two radio stations of the press group.

However, the government has denied any involvement in the internet disruptions and an operation against Afric Vision, media said.

The reported actions coincide with a call to demonstrate launched by the opposition. The junta requisitioned the army deployed in the capital on Wednesday.

Guinean Internet users have been complaining since Wednesday about the difficulty or impossibility of accessing information sites or social networks such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or TikTok without a VPN. The issues have been confirmed by internet monitoring service NetBlocks.

The main press organisations, representing televisions, radios, newspapers, and private information sites, castigated in a press release "the liberticidal actions undertaken by the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority against the Guinean media".

They "condemn this censorship, which is a setback for democracy". They announce their decision to no longer participate in the current week of information and communication professions organized by the government.

The influential Guinea Bloggers Association Ablogui spoke in a separate statement of "backward methods that dishonor Guinea".

Government spokesman and telecommunications minister Ousmane Gaoual Diallo denied any involvement by the authorities.

He spoke in front of reporters "about a blackout that is happening everywhere", the Guinéenews news site reported. "If the government decides to shut down the internet, it will do so and bear the consequences. However, this is not the case," he said according to Guineanews.

As for Afric Vision, the authorities are waiting for the group to produce elements corroborating its claims, he said. But any media that disturbs the social peace "will be closed without hesitation", he warned.

The opposition had called for demonstrations on Wednesday and Thursday. She eventually called off Thursday's protest. Wednesday's appeal was met with little effect in the streets of Conakry, placed under tight control by the army and security forces.

The Forces Vives, a collective of parties and organizations, however, claimed to have paralyzed activity in different sectors of the capital. They accused Colonel Mamady Doumbouya and a number of officials of "murderous madness" and plans to confiscate power.

Guinea has been ruled since 2021 by a junta under the leadership of Colonel Doumbouya. The military agreed under international pressure to make way for elected civilians by the end of 2024, the time to carry out deep reforms, they say.

The junta has arrested a number of opposition leaders and launched legal proceedings against others. It has banned all demonstrations since 2022.

The opposition denounces the authoritarian and exclusive conduct of the country by the junta and calls for the rapid return of civilians.

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