Guinean authorities should immediately roll back the wave of censorship efforts unleashed on the press in recent months, including the suspensions or blocking of outlets, arrests of journalists, and repression of those who stand up for press freedom,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, from New York. “The suspension orders against the Dépêche Guinée website and publishingdirector Abdoul Latif Diallo should be reversed, and all other restrictions on the various blocked outlets and online platforms should be lifted.”
On January 17, Guinea’s media regulator, the High Authority of Communication (HAC), suspended Dépêche Guinée for nine months, and Diallo for six months, according to a copy of the regulator’s decision and Diallo, who spoke to CPJ. During his suspension, Diallo “cannot create or provide his services to a news organization,” according to the order.
The suspension order, which followed complaints from Guinea’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Moussa Cissé, and the governor of the country’s central bank, Karamo Kaba, cited a “lack of cross-checking” in Diallo’s January 15 report about the alleged embezzlement of public funds.
The order also accused Diallo of being a recidivist defamer. In September 2023, HAC had previously suspended Diallo and his news outlet for failing to adequately “verify” and “cross-check” information in an August 20 report he wrote.
Separately, on January 14, Guinean authorities deported French freelance journalist Thomas Dietrich, alleging that he had entered the country illegally, according to the journalist, who spoke to CPJ, and mediareports. Dietrich, who was investigating embezzlement at the national oil company, told CPJ he had entered the country with a visa and was not given any written explanation for his expulsion. Police officers arrested him later that day at his hotel in the capital, Conakry, took him to the judicial police headquarters, seized his phones and computer, and then questioned him about their contents, Dietrich said, adding that the officers returned his phones but kept his computer.
Earlier in the month, on January 3, the privately owned news site Mosaïque Guinée became inaccessible from within Guinea without any notice of an official decision to block it, Mosaïque Guinée publishing director Mohamed Bangoura told CPJ.Bangoura said that readers could only access the site’s content with a virtual private network (VPN), severely reducing the outlet’s audience and advertising-based revenue.
Reached over the phone, Guinea’s government spokesman and Minister of Post, Telecommunications, and Digital Economy, Ousmane Gaoual Diallo, did not directly confirm the cause of the Mosaïque Guinée’s blocking, but suggested that Bangoura was aware of what had caused it.