Journalist Suspended for Mentioning Libya

Radio discussion violated Equatorial Guinea's total news blackout on the revolution.

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Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang with Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi (AFP).

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the government of Equatorial Guinea has suspended a state radio presenter in response to his mere mention of Libya during a live radio program on Friday. The government is one of a few in sub-Saharan Africa to impose a total news blackout on events in North Africa and the Middle East:

On Friday, Equatorial Guinean Secretary of State for Information and Press Federico Abaga Ondo stormed into the studios of government-controlled national broadcaster RTVGE and ordered producers to kill the microphone of presenter Juan Pedro Mendene, according to local journalists. Ondo then ordered Mendene, who was presenting his weekly hour-long, French-language call-in educational program "Détente Intégrale" (Total Relaxation) out of the studio, forbidding him to return to the studio, according to the same sources.

Speaking to CPJ today, Mendene -- who has been nicknamed by listeners "The Guide" because of the educational nature of his show -- mentioned the Libyan revolution in the introduction to his program. According to local journalists, the official took exception to the reference on the grounds that it breached the government-controlled station policy of not discussing on events in Libya, Tunisa, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen and Ivory Coast.

Read more at CPJ.

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