In Guinea, Canal cuts the broadcast of a channel critical of the military power

The pressure is increasing on the Guinean press

In Guinea, Canal cuts the broadcast of a channel critical of the military power

The pressure is increasing on the Guinean press. On Wednesday December 6, the Canal bouquet cut the signal of the Djoma TV channel during the broadcast of On refait le monde, a political debate show that is among the most watched and most critical of the junta that has ruled the country since 2021 .

“We first thought it was a breakdown,” says Kalil Oularé, general manager of Djoma Média, a group led by Kabinet Sylla, a businessman nicknamed “Bill Gates” who has been incarcerated for a year for illicit enrichment. We then discovered that the signal was indeed reaching Canal, but then it was interrupted. The director of Canal Guinée then informed me that the High Authority of Communication had asked the channel to no longer broadcast. »

Three days later, this body, considered the policeman of the sector, published a press release justifying its decision by “national security imperatives”. This applies “as a precautionary measure and until further notice. »

This cut, which follows the jamming on November 27 of Djoma FM, the radio version of Djoma TV, comes in a context where censorship is becoming widespread against the press deemed too critical of those in power. In May, the junta, led by Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, restricted or blocked several popular news sites and social networks, such as Facebook.

Radio jamming

Associations defending the press, representing television, radio, newspapers and private information sites, also denounced a police raid on the editorial staff of Afric Vision and the seizure of two of its radio transmitters. In October, while covering a demonstration to defend press freedom and opposed the blocking of the Guinea Matin news site, a dozen journalists were violently arrested.

A month later, the programs of the continuous radio station FIM FM were jammed, then those of Espace FM and Evasion. According to a statement published by Reporters Without Borders on November 30, “the jamming of FIM FM and Djoma FM occurred a few days after broadcasting programs dealing with the dismissal and arrest of the Minister of Health and Public Hygiene , Mamadou Phété Diallo, accused among other things of “corruption”. The jamming of Espace FM and Evasion occurred after broadcasts addressing the cuts of their colleagues.”

In a message on the promotion of communal hatred, the accentuation of social and political tensions and the propagation of divisive discourse”.

“Silence all dissonant voices”

“There is clearly a desire to stifle the media,” retorts Sékou Jamal Pendessa, secretary general of the Union of Press Professionals of Guinea (SPPG). Everything is done to limit the right to information, particularly via social networks which are only accessible by VPN. The situation of the Guinean press is even worse than when Alpha Condé ruled this country. » However, recalls Jeanne Lagarde, sub-Saharan Africa advocacy officer at RSF, “the authorities committed during a meeting in October 2021 to protecting press freedom during the transition”.

The tightening of the regime affects several sectors. The junta, which under international pressure has committed to returning power to civilians at the end of an election at the end of 2024, has already arrested opposition leaders, such as Fodé Oussou Fofana or Cellou Baldé, for having organized a demonstration against power in October 2022. “The objective of the military is to silence all dissonant voices,” assures a journalist. After the political field, they are now attacking the unions and the press. »

Under pressure, the Guinean media are trying to resist. On Monday, December 11, the SPPG launched a “no press day” to support a profession “at risk of extinction.” “This was moderately followed by television and radio because the bosses favored dialogue with the authorities,” estimates Kalil Oularé. For its part, the Djoma Média group will attempt legal action to denounce an abusive breach of contract by Canal. “Because of our channel dropping out, advertisers will disappear. The goal of the junta is also to suffocate us financially,” he laments. Contacted by Le Monde, the Canal group did not wish to comment.