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article imagePress freedom situation Guinea 'extremely menacing'

By Miriam Mannak     Oct 8, 2009 in World
Journalists and media workers from Guinea are increasingly facing abuse, assault and death threats, says media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), calling the situation "extremely menacing".
According to RSF, the situation has worsened due to the recent political crisis and instability in the African country, which among other things resulted in government forces killing and raping hundreds of demonstrators gathered at a soccer stadium on Sept. 28.
The unarmed civilians were protesting against against junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara's possible candidacy for the forthcoming presidential elections.
Part of the foundation for the current problems in Guinea was laid in December last year, when junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara took power in a coup after the death of president Lansana Conté. Camara pledged he would participate in the next presidential elections. During opposition rallies in the country's capital Conakry, protesting against Camara, soldiers and presidential guards moved in. Opposition leaders were arrested, and countless civilians raped, killed, and assaulted.
As for civilians, the situation for reporters and journalists has become unbearable, said RSF in a media statement, urging mediators to try to protect journalists. "A resolution of the Guinean crisis requires protecting not just civilians in general but also journalists in particular, as they are the target of military abuses."
RSF quoted soldiers as telling journalists, "If you go out the door, I'll cut your tongue out" and "We know you, we'll make you pay". In addition, several reporters and journalists were accused of disclosing information to foreigners, received death threats, and were assaulted by soldiers. Among them were the Guinea correspondent for AFP and Radio France International (RFI), as well as BBC journalist Amadou Dialo - who were "roughened up" during the bloodshed on September 28.
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