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Free Press? Guinea Gov’t. Cracks Down – One of Many Democratic Principles Conde Violates

July 27, 2011
The Guinean government has banned the media from reporting on “the attack against the head of state, as well as any interactive broadcast of a political nature.”  Last week, several people attacked the home of Alpha Conde in what the government said was an attempted assassination. Since then, more information has come out about the attack, and many Guineans are beginning to think that Conde faked it in order to justify an “open season” against those in opposition to him.  This must be the reason Conde banned mention of the attack — people were catching on to the ruse.  We may have to wait a few days to sort out what the banning of “any interactive broadcast of a political nature” means, but it sounds all-encompassing.
Since the attack, word is coming out of Guinea that Conde is breaking a myriad of democratic rules to catch the “perps” including:  arbitrary arrests without charge, a Conde-approved death squad promising to target several opposition leaders, the ransacking of an opposition leader’s home by thirty heavily-armed men and women whose sticky fingers carried off jewelry and other valuables, and one high-ranking military officer, Alpha Oumar Diallo, picked up by the government a few days after “the attack,” tortured and killed while in custody.  This is all in one week!
Actually, Conde has been violating democratic principles for a long time.  During the campaign, he collaborated with Sekouba Konate, to use state-sponsored security forces to implement several plots against those of the Foulah ethnic group in order to disenfranchise them before the election.  These plots resulted in the burning of Foulah businesses, debilitating injuries, several deaths, and the rape of women.  After becoming president, Conde continued the ethnic-baiting from his presidential pulpit targeting Foulah business owners.  When it was announced that his former rival for president, Cellou Dalein Diallo, of the UFDG party, would be returning to Conakry after a long trip abroad, Conde personally warned Diallo’s supporters not to go to the airport, threatening bodily harm or worse.  A few people were killed and 200 were injured.

Of course, Conde is muzzling the press.  This is a man who stole the election and, as a result, arrived at the presidency with no real mandate.  Without a mandate, he must keep the opposition at bay and he can only accomplish this through undemocratic means.  While the EU and the US continue to re-anoint Conde as “Guinea’s first democratically-elected president,”  the people of Guinea know he is nothing more than a man following in the footsteps of his predecessors.

AFP: Guinea media protest gag on attack against president

(AFP) – 9 hours ago

CONAKRY — The Guinean government has banned media from referring to an assassination bid against the president, press unions said Wednesday, denouncing a violation of the constitution.

According to the unions citing the ban, the national communications council banned media from reporting on “the attack against the head of state, as well as any interactive broadcast of a political nature.”

The decision came into play on Monday and affects “all broadcasts and in all national languages in the country. It concerns all public and private information organs, radio, television, print and online media.”

On July 19, the home of president Alpha Conde was hit with a rocket in an attack by renegade soldiers in which a member of the presidential guard was injured.

Thirty-eight people, including 25 soldiers, have been arrested in connection with the attack and are facing charges of attempted assassination.

The Guinean Union of Free Radio and Television, Guinean Association of Editors of the Independent Media and Guinean Association of Online Media said they received the decision with “profound regret.”

In a statement, the unions called for “the pure and simple cancellation of this decision which is a violation of the constitution which recognises freedom of the press as one of the fundamental freedoms.”

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