News / Africa

Rights Group: Ivory Coast Journalists At Risk

UN armored personnel carrier in Ivory Coast (file photo)
UN armored personnel carrier in Ivory Coast (file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +
Drew Hinshaw

Journalists in Ivory Coast are facing attacks from supporters on both sides of Ivory Coast's presidential crisis, the Committee to Protect Journalists says.  

Three months after a presidential election devolved into a violent power struggle for control over West Africa's second largest economy, Ivory Coast has become a dangerous land for reporters, says the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The watchdog group's new report documents attacks against journalists that it says have been committed by both sides in a conflict that many are now are calling a civil war.

The U.N. says more than 460 have died since the post-election crisis began in December.  Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita says that reporters, who are known for the political stances they take  are at greater risk than most.

"Local journalists are the victims of attacks, threats, intimidation, kidnapping attempts and their security conditions are deterioration.  Some are even completely stranded in their homes, afraid to go out because of armed gunmen," he said.

The nation remains split along north-south lines, with northern-based rebels backing Alassane Ouattara, who is recognized by the United Nations as the winner of last's November's vote.

That vote was meant to heal the nation's persistent divide.  But, incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo rejected the U.N.-certified results, alleging widespread voter fraud in the north.

Since then, the partisanship of the press, as well as the treats levied against them, have escalated, Keita says.

No actual journalist has been confirmed as killed, he said, although two non-reporting employees for a media house were killed for their perceived support of Mr. Gbagbo.  A driver for a pro-Ouattara newspaper is feared dead, after he was kidnapped by Gbagbo supporters in February, Keita adds.

The report contains more incidents of violence committed by Gbagbo supporters.  But he said that does not mean that Outtara supporters haven't committed crimes in northern areas that are harder to reach and study.

Keita also notes that the Gbagbo government, which controls Abidjan, has allowed Ouattara newspapers to continue printing, while rebels in the north control the media landscape enitrely, he said.

"Generally, the media is first in line to suffer during a crisis. As soon as this crisis began, the Gbagbo government, one of their first actions was to suspend all the international news channels, French channels, that were broadcasting into Ivory Coast.  This has been a battle for control for the country and the national institutions, and this battle has been waged through the media.  It has been a war of words," Keita said.

Mr. Gbagbo has recently attacked the international media, accusing them of false reporting, warning them to not aid "terrorists" in the country.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid