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President's supporters besiege radio station, force journalist to disclose source

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 15 November 2006, a group of sympathizers of President Joao Bernardo Vieira besieged Radio Bombolom, an independent radio station based in Bissau, the capital, and forced journalist Antonio Iaia Seidi to disclose a source of information. The angry group also forcibly broadcast a rejoinder to an earlier story filed by Seidi.

The MFWA's correspondent said that the group, which belonged to a movement that supported President Vieira's campaign as an independent candidate in 2005, accused the station of carrying a story that portrayed the president in a bad light.

The station had broadcast a circular, allegedly issued by the group that attacked the station, seeking signatures for a petition calling for the dissolution of the government of Prime Minister Aristides Gomez. Although the radio station did not mention any names, the leader of the group, Armandos Dias, demanded to be given a right to reply.

During the broadcast, Dias threatened to lodge a complaint against the station and Seidi at the Public Ministry. He also dispelled claims that the proposed meeting with the president had anything to do with plans to bring down the government of the prime minister.

The MFWA is worried about this blatant abuse of press freedom, which undermines the editorial independence of journalists.

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Violencia e impunidad, una constante del periodismo haitiano @sip_oficial #Haití

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