Guinea Bissau: Director of News at State Broadcaster Sacked for Defying Censorship Order

The statement was originally published by mfwa.org on July 15, 2016.

The Director of News at the state radio broadcaster in Guinea Bissau, Radiodifusao Nationale (RDN), Aliu Candé has been sacked for defying censorship orders by General Manager of RDN, Abduramane Turé.

Candé was sacked on July 7, 2016 for airing a press conference by Domingos Simões Pereira a former Prime Minister, despite being reportedly ordered by Turé, to censor the event.

The press conference organised by Domingos Simões Pereira who was sacked as Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau in August 2015 by President José Mario Vaz after a conflict between the two, was to respond an allegation of financial impropriety by the new Prime Minister Baciro Dja accusing him of illegally benefiting from a 30 billion CFA franc bank bail-out fund established by the government.

In apparent show of commitment to keep the network impartial, the Director of News, Aliu Candé, rejected the censorship orders and went ahead to air the press conference. However a few hours after the press conference was aired, the General Manager, Abduramane Turé informed Candé that he had been sacked.

MFWA’s correspondent in Guinea Bissau, the sack of Candé for his principled stand appears to confirm fears expressed by the media and civil society groups when Turé was appointed on June 4, 2016. The stakeholders had warned that Turé and Francelinho Cunha, who was also appointed General Manager for the state-owned Télévision Guineé Bissau (TGB) by the new Prime Minister, might not be able to work independently and impartially because of their previous roles as political party activists.

This is not the first time the state media in Guinea Bissau has witnessed open political interference. On December 4, 2015, the Attorney General, António Sedja Man, called off a scheduled programme on state radio and summoned the Manager, Francisco Muniro Conté to the Ministry of Justice for a “working meeting.”

The MFWA calls on the General Manager of Radiodiodifisao Nationale (RDN) to reinstate the sacked Aliu Candé. We also urge the authorities in Guinea Bissau to stop the political interference in the work of the state media to enable them play their important public service roles more effectively to advance the cause of democracy in the country.