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)
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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid