Côte d'Ivoire

FAJ Calls on New Government to Protect Journalists in Ivory Coast

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The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) today called on the new government in Côte d'Ivoire to investigate reports that some journalists are being targeted for their alleged support of former President Laurent Gbagbo amid widespread acts of revenge against people believed to have backed the former regime in the country.

According to information received by FAJ, Ivorian journalists are among people who went into hiding, fearing for their life following the arrest of former Côte d'Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo. Reports say that journalists who worked for the State media and the private media associated with the former leader are facing threats of violent attacks.

“We take note of the new government’s call for tolerance and urge the authorities to protect journalists who are victims of the witch hunt because of their reporting during the crisis,” said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President.” “It is time to promote the healing process which will lead to the creation of an open and progressive society where media plays its role in moderating dialogue and democratic debate.”

The FAJ also urged President Alassane Ouattara to launch an urgent investigation into the disappearance of French journalist Guy-André Kieffer who went missing in Abidjan on 16 April 2004. Kieffer, a former investigative reporter for La Tribune newspaper disappeared while he was investigating the cocoa trade in Ivory Coast. He had arrived in the country in 2000 shortly after Laurent Gbagbo came to power and invited him to carry out the investigation. He had received death threats and powerful forces who controlled the cocoa market in Ivory Coast have long been suspected for being behind the threats.

“Seven years on, the family and colleagues of Kieffer look to the new President for the truth to end their long wait,”’ added Faruk. “This is a test case for President Ouattara’s commitment to break with past practices of impunity for violence against journalists”.

For more information contact the IFJ at +221 33 867 95 86/87 The FAJ represents over 50,000 journalists in 38 countries in Africa

International Federation of Journalists Africa Regional Office 3rd Floor, Immeuble Seynabou, VDN-Sicap Sacré Cœur III BP 64257, Dakar Senegal Tel: +221- 33 867 95 86/87; Fax: +221- 33 827 02 50 E-mail: ifjafrique@ifjafrique.org Website: www.ifjafrique.org , www.ifj.org