Senegal: MFWA expresses concern over suspensions of journalists, newspapers in Cote d'Ivoire

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) Thursday reiterated deep concern over the spate of suspensions of newspapers in Cote d'Ivoire and called on authorities to reconsider their response to breaches of the professional code.

This followed the suspension of L’Intelligent d'Abidjan and Aujourd'hui newspapers, together with a journalist by Ivorian media regulatory body, Conseil National de la Presse (CNP) after publications that the regulator deemed unprofessional.

In a statement obtained by PANA in Dakar, MFWA said the two papers have been banned for three editions, while journalist Alafe Wakili, alias Charles Kouassi of L’Intelligent d’Abidjan, has been suspended for 30 days with his professional ID card withdrawn during the period.

According to the press freedom watchdog, the latest sanctions bring to six the number of newspapers banned, with two journalists also suspended in the past three weeks.

Newspapers Le Nouveau Courrier, Le Temps, Le Patriote and L’Inter as well as journalist Cyrille Djedjed of L’Inter were said to be among those sanctioned by the CNP.

''MFWA calls on the CNP to reconsider its response to breaches of the professional code. We are concerned that the suspensions could lead to self-censorship,'' the statement noted, adding: ''We also urge the Ivorian media to be more professional in their reportage.''

Meanwhile, the statement explained that Alafe Wakili of L’Intelligent d’Abidjan published an article accusing a son-in-law of former president Laurent Gbagbo of planning a coup to destablise the country under the inspiration of an alleged prophetic revelation by an unidentified prophet.

The CNP declared that by offering support to the dissemination of the prophetic vision, the reporter defaulted on his duty and “seriously implicated Mr. Stéphane Kipré.”

The newspaper Aujourd’hui, on the other hand, was accused of defying several cautions from the CNP and repeatedly publishing statements and press releases signed by persons falsely claiming to represent the Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI), party of former president  Gbagbo.

CNP said those publications were in violation of Directive No.008 of July 16, 2015 which prohibits impersonation.

''The affected media organisations and the journalist each have 30 days to appeal the decision at the administrative division of the Supreme Court,'' CNP said.

-0- PANA MLJ/AR 12Nov2015

12 november 2015 16:11:31

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