Guinea | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Guinea

Guinea

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

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

67

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

28

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

16

The constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but this right is not respected in practice and has been widely abused in the past. The government enforces restrictive press legislation that considers defamation and slander criminal offenses and permits the authorities to censor publications. Nonetheless, 2005 saw a marked improvement in the media environment as a result of new legislation signed by President Lansana Conte, and there were no reports that the National Communications Commission (CNC) had suspended newspaper activities. In August, Conte signed a media liberalization decree that finally permits the establishment of private radio and television broadcasting. The decree limits ownership by political parties and religious institutions but does not restrict programming on these subjects. Conte also appointed Boubacar Yaccine Diallo, an independent journalist and respected newspaper editor, as chairman of the CNC. The commission is expected to play a pivotal role in registering new privately owned broadcast media outlets, but by year's end no applications for private ownership had been submitted. Following his appointment, Diallo initiated programs to increase professionalism in the practice of journalism and implemented a requirement that journalists must meet higher professional standards to obtain press credentials.

During the year, journalists were frequently detained or arrested for covering sensitive issues such as the president's failing health and government corruption in their publications or broadcasts, but at the same time, far fewer journalists were injured or harassed than in 2004. The personal intervention of President Conte led in some instances to the reversal of extrajudicial actions against the media. In April, the Ministry of Security prevented Jeune Afrique L'Intelligent from publishing a weekly edition that featured a story reporting on Conte's ill health. The ban was lifted 24 hours later by order of the president, and the magazine resumed its regular distribution. President Conte also ordered the release of the editor of La Guinee Actuelle a day after police detained him for publishing an article that was critical of the prime minister. In February, Mohammed Lamine Diallo, a reporter with La Lance, was arrested and released three days later without charge in response to an article he wrote comparing the situation in Guinea with that of Togo, where the military installed Faure Gnassingbe as president following the death of his father.

The government controls all television and radio broadcasting and publishes the daily Horoya. State-owned media provide extensive, mostly favorable coverage of the government but also criticize local-level officials and increasingly report on opposition activities. Within the private print media, newspapers openly criticize the president and the government. Ten private weekly newspapers publish in the capital, Conakry, while a dozen others publish sporadically. In September, the government gave financial subsidies of around $100,000 to private newspapers through the Guinea Association of Independent Editors, which divided the money among various press organizations. The government does not directly restrict access to the internet, but in July a journalist for Guinee-News was arrested in response to an article he had published online about economic corruption.