Guinea | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Guinea

Guinea

Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

71

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

29

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

18

While Guinea's constitution guarantees freedom of the press, this right is not respected in practice. Restrictive press laws permit the government to censor publications, and defamation and slander are considered criminal offenses. In 2002, Justice Minister Abou Camara attempted to improve press freedom by banning the judicial police from arresting journalists for press offenses. While arrests of journalists declined in 2003, there were numerous reports of journalists' being interrogated and harassed, physically assaulted by the Internal Security Service (DST) and the presidential guard, and suspended as a result of their reporting. Coverage of the December 2003 presidential elections also witnessed numerous abuses of press freedom. The DST summoned and harassed journalists and newspaper editors for articles critical of the president and the legitimacy of the elections. In doing so, the DST violated Guinea's constitution, which specifies that the National Communications Council, the governmental media regulatory body, is the only group authorized to summon and question journalists. Jean Marie Dore, the spokesman for the main alliance of opposition parties, was also arrested and later released for his criticism of President Lansana Conte during a radio interview with Radio France Internationale. While more than a dozen private newspapers are critical of the government, the government controls all radio and television stations and publishes the only daily newspaper. There is little to no coverage of opposition parties in the government-owned media. Although the law does not prohibit licensing private broadcast media, the government denies all applicants on the grounds of national security. High operating costs also contribute to the constraints on private media growth.