Guinea Authorities Ban Political Discourse on Radio Broadcasts
By Ricci Shryock
02 September 2009
After temporarily suspending SMS text messaging in order to curb political rallies in the capital Conakry, Guinea's military authorities have now banned political discussions from radio broadcasts.
In the wake of increasing criticism, authorities in Guinea's ruling military junta have banned political discourse from all radio call-in programs. Some people have recently used these radio call-in shows to criticize the expected presidential candidacy of ruling military junta leader, Moussa Dadis Camara.
The decision to ban political discourse was announced by the president of the National Council for Communication, Jean Raymond Soumah. Captain Camara appointed Soumah days after staging a coup last December in the West African country.
Members of the radio and television union in the West African country quickly condemned the order. They said they will not respect the ban and will continue to discuss politics on their call-in shows.
After union member Sekou Mahdi Traore read details of the new order, he expressed the implicit concern that members of the union have about the ban.
He added that the decision violates the right to the freedom of expression held by citizens of Guinea.
When Captain Camara seized power late last year after the death of long-time President Lansana Conte, he promised that neither he nor anyone from his party, the National Council for Democracy and Development, would run for elections.
Tensions have been rising in Guinea since Captain Camara announced a change in election dates last month, as well as the possibility that he can run for office if he chooses.
Meanwhile, the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch says there are increasing crackdowns on dissenters by Captain Camara and his party. The group said at least one human rights worker received three death threats after he denounced the change of election dates on a radio station.
For several days, SMS text messaging was cut off to the entire population after groups of youth were trying to organize in the streets, both for and against Captain Camara.
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