Senegal: CPJ condemns Equatorial Guinea for Gbagbo trial coverage ban

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has strongly condemned the decision of the government in Equatorial Guinea to ban state television from covering the trial of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, which opened at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on 28 January.

"We have been forbidden from airing Laurent Gbagbo's trial due to his friendship with our president," CPJ quoted a journalist with the state television channel Radio Télévision Guinée Equatoriale in a statement made available to PANA in Dakar, Senegal on Wednesday.

"Equatorial Guinea is living up to its reputation as one of the most censored countries in the world, as one ruling autocrat tries to ban coverage of a fallen autocrat facing justice," remarked CPJ deputy Executive Director, Robert Mahoney.

"Charges of crimes against humanity are just too important to be dismissed. Justice can only be done when it is seen to be done and for that we need a free press."

According to the statement, Equatorial Guinea had a history of tightly controlling the press, either through direct control, patronage, or indirect pressure.

CPJ said that in 2012, Equatorial Guinea was featured on its list of most censored countries.

"Gbagbo, who faces four counts of crimes against humanity, is a longtime friend of Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who publicly urged Africans to boycott the ICC following Gbagbo's transfer to The Hague in April 2011," the statement noted.
-0- PANA MLJ/MA 3Feb2016

03 february 2016 11:45:48

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