Reporter Barred from Press Freedom Debate

Reporter Barred from Press Freedom Debate

Committee to Protect Journalists May 7, 2012
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A reporter in Equatorial Guinea was denied access to a debate on press freedom, despite having been initially invited to participate. 

To commemorate World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the government invited national and international journalists to attend a press conference with President Teodoro Obiang. According to the government’s official website, President Obiang described his favorite forms of media and told his audience, “There are really no restrictions on any press activities, provided they are legal.”

However, according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Samuel Obiang Mbana, an independent international correspondent, was barred from participating in a televised debate on how press freedom could transform Equatorial Guinea. Mbana had been invited to participate in the debate two days earlier by the debate’s presenter, but when he arrived at the debate location, he was barred from taking part by the director-general of the state-owned channel Radio-Television Equatorial Guinea (RTVGE), Teobaldo Nchasa Matombo. Mbana claims he was told he might be too “problematic” and say something the station did not want aired.

The Committee to Protect Journalists recently rated Equatorial Guinea the fifth most censored country in the world.

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