Guinea: Junta govt bans several media outlets; prosecutors demand life imprisonment for former dictator

Guinea’s military junta-led government has imposed a ban on four major private radio stations and one private television channel, while in a separate development, state prosecutors have demanded life sentences for former dictator and six other military or government officials over a 2009 massacre.

In what is the latest in a string of restrictions imposed on the media, the ruling military government has withdrawn the operating license of radio stations FIM FM, Radio Espace FM, Sweet FM and Djoma FM, as well as Djoma TV, over a “failure to comply with the content of the specifications,” the ministry of information said last week.

The media groups affected by the measures condemned “oppressive behavior” by the military in a joint statement.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said “the repression of the media must stop,” adding that the Guinean authorities controlled by the junta, which seized power in the West African nation in 2021, had committed to “unblocking an already dramatic situation” for media outlets. Guinea is ranked 78th out of 180 countries in the watchdog’s 2024 press freedom ranking.

In a separate development, the country’s prosecutors demanded life imprisonment for former dictator Moussa Dadis Camara and six other military or government officials, who have been accused of responsibility in killing of 150 people and mass rape by Guinean forces during their crack-down on an opposition rally at a stadium in the capital Conakry in 2009.

The chief prosecutor, Alghassimou Diallo, denied the seven defendants — who have been found guilty of crimes against humanity — any mitigating circumstances, pointing to their lack of regret since the landmark trial began in September 2022. The historic trial is due to resume this Monday May 27 with the defense case. The trial is expected to last several days before the judges give their verdict at a date yet to be determined.