Access to information, legal and institutional reforms, the safety of journalists, the independence of the media regulator, support for the media and the professionalization of the media were among the topics discussed during the visit of RSF, carried out jointly with its partner organization in Guinea, the Media Alliance for Human Rights (AMDH).
RSF met with journalists and representatives of media associations, the president of the Guinean media regulator, the High Authority for Communication (HAC), and several of its members, and the new civilian Prime Minister, Mohamed Béavogui, installed on the October 6.
“Guinea is undoubtedly at a turning point in its history and its reconstruction – which Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, the interim president, says he is looking for – will not be possible without real safeguards and concrete reforms for journalists to make. their reportage work in complete freedom. and responsible,“Said Arnaud Froger, head of RSF’s Africa office, at a press conference yesterday in the capital, Conakry. “We hope that the authorities will usher in a new era, in particular by adopting the recommendations submitted to them during this visit.. “
“Guinea cannot make more mistakes”
Since the military takeover, access to information and official events has proved difficult, especially for the private media. A special forces raid on October 9 on a radio station owned by a former ally of the president also alarmed reporters. Representatives of public radio journalists RTG, who protested against the lack of means at their disposal to do their work, were received two days ago by the military junta, the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development (CNRD).
AMDH President Chaikou Baldé added: “Guinea cannot make more mistakes and its journalists will have a vital role to play if the country is to avoid the injustices, corruption and bad governance that have prevailed for too long.. “
Guinea has dropped 23 places in RSF’s global press freedom rankings since 2013 and is now ranked 109th out of 180 countries.
RSF’s 10 recommendations to guarantee press freedom during the transition in Guinea:
- The president and the transitional government affirm the paramount importance of journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism for democratic life and Guinean society.
- The authorities respect the right of journalists in public and private media to freely access information and events of national interest.
- The Guinean authorities undertake to respect the 2010 press freedom law abolishing prison sentences for press offenses, and at the same time to put an end to the arbitrary arrests and imprisonments of journalists for press offenses.
- The president is committed to quickly promulgate the law on access to information voted in 2010.
- The government guarantees an open, free and safe environment for journalists. Police ensure the safety of journalists during protests and do not confiscate their equipment.
- The government undertakes to prosecute those responsible for abuses against journalists in order to put an end to the climate of impunity detrimental to press freedom.
- As specified in the law, the High Authority for Communication (HAC) guarantees respect for “the plurality and expression of currents of thought and opinion” in the media by providing “support and mediation to avoid monitoring government media abuse ”. It ensures respect for the freedom and independence of broadcasters and television channels by refraining from any decision that is not based on the facts and the law.
- The independence of the HAC vis-à-vis the government must be strengthened by, for example, changing the way its members are appointed, by including more independent media journalists, and by not giving the president of the country power. appoint more members.
- The government is creating a fund that allocates financial assistance in a transparent, fair and impartial manner to the media so that they can continue to work despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their finances.
- The government is committed to developing and improving the training of journalists, including on-the-job training, in order to help meet their needs and promote independent and quality journalism.