Journalists Released, But Union Leader Arrested Amidst Press Freedom Concerns in Guinea

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In a recent development in Guinea, a group of journalists who were detained on Thursday, January 18, at various gendarmerie barracks have been released by a Conakry court. The journalists had been apprehended at the Guinea Press House while responding to a call from their union. However, as they exited the court, the Secretary-General of the Guinea Press Professionals Union, Sékou Jamal Pendessa, was arrested in turn.

Pendessa, the most sought-after journalist for advocating a protest on Thursday against the severe restrictions on internet access – a demonstration prohibited by Guinean authorities – was apprehended outside the Dixinn court. Ironically, he had come to support his colleagues who had been arrested the previous day and brought before the prosecutor.

Following his arrest, Pendessa was taken into custody at the Gendarmerie Research Brigade in Kipé, a suburb of Conakry. Two other journalists arrested with him were released later in the afternoon after being questioned by the gendarmes.

In recent weeks, Guinea has witnessed a significant reduction in internet access, removal of television channels from major distribution platforms, and radio frequencies being disrupted.

It is worth noting that the press union received support from several civil society organizations for the aborted protest, including the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of political parties and unions that opposed former President Alpha Condé’s third term, and the Forum of Social Forces.

This incident raises concerns about press freedom in Guinea, as journalists face obstacles in reporting and expressing their views. The collaboration between the press union and civil society organizations underscores the broader implications of these challenges on democratic values and freedom of expression in the country. The international community continues to monitor the situation closely, urging respect for human rights and the protection of journalists’ rights in Guinea.

Soukaina Sghir

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