Panafrican News Agency

Benin journalists demand release of two colleagues

Cotonou, Benin (PANA) - The Union of Media Professionals of Benin (UPMB) is demanding the release of two members who were detained by the judiciary for defamation on Thursday.

A statement issued on Friday by the Union identified them as Hervé Alladé, publisher of Soleil Bénin info, and Patrice Gbaguidi, a journalist of the media house.

The UPMB expressed its indignation at the detention of the journalists, saying that the decision of the judiciary to imprison them eloquently illustrates the serious threats to press freedom in Benin.

The UPMB said this decision calls into question, once again, the provisions of the Code of Information and Communication, which prohibits the application to media professionals of penalties depriving them of freedom in the exercise of their duties.

It is also a reminder of the need to intensify efforts to review the Digital Code as soon as possible, describing it as "a sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of media professionals".

"The harmful consequences of the repressive provisions of the said code (digital code) on the work of the media and the image of our country are multiple and do no honour to anyone," said the Union.

It said it would take all necessary steps and efforts, in accordance with its mission of defending press freedom, to secure the release of the journalists.

The arrest of the two media professionals follows a complaint about "harassment by electronic means", following the publication, on 25 August 2021, of an article on the "illegal occupation" of an access road in Godomey-Togoudo".

-0- PANA IT/JSG/SOC/MTA/MA 20Nov2021