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Journalists denied access to press conference

(MFWA/IFEX) - Media organisations in Benin have denounced attempts by security forces to suppress press freedom in Benin following their refusal to allow journalists to cover a press conference on 8 March 2006.

The security forces said their refusal to allow the journalists to cover the press conference, which took place at a private residence, was to prevent public disorder.

According to a Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)-Benin source, on 7 March, journalists were invited to a press conference at Djrègbé, approximately 32 kilometres from Cotonou, organised by Albert Tévoèdjrè, a Beninois politician. However, upon reaching the place, they were refused entry by gendarmes who said that the authorities had taken such measures in order to prevent public disorder.

Professional organizations, including comprising the Deontology and Ethics Observatory in the Media, the Union of Professionals in the Media of Benin, the House of Media and the National Council of Patronage of Benin explained that the action taken by the authorities amounted to preventing journalists from accessing a source of information and also constituted a violation of the public's right to information.

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