- Many Equatoguinean journalists and reporters of the sports press are going to face the courts after having been charged by different authorities, such as the Ministry of Sports, the federation and the teams. The motives may be double.
What is actually happening is that these politicians that are hiding behind sports events to manifest their discontent with media that do not praise them. This situation has been taking place on the national sports arena for years.
It culminated when a high official from the Sports Ministry suspended a journalist because he had written that the national football (soccer) team had not been preparing for a sufficiently long time to participate in the qualifications for the African Cup, to be organised in Tunisia.
Later on, as it was demonstrated that the case had been truthfully described, the said journalist was forgiven. He was let to restart doing his work one week later.
Likewise, in the month of March this year, a journalist has been legally charged by the football referees of Malabo - the Equatoguinean capital - for having written about the abuses these allegedly are committing during their refereeing of a football match.
One month later, in Equatorial Guinea's second city Bata, the regional authority of the Sports Ministry suspended another journalist for denouncing the corruption and embezzlement of funds allegedly practiced at the "Libertad" stadium, which are said to have led to the dramatic decrease in the stadium's revenues. Ultimately, this suspension was made impossible because the accusing authority was not the competent entity in the case.
In May this year, the presidency of the National Football Association ordered several of its Vice-Presidents to send a letter to the Director of the state-controlled 'Radio Bata'. The letter recommended the radio boss to suspend the leader of the sports section for having informed about the lacking seriousness of the appointment of the new trainer of the national women's football team.
This last case, equal to the anterior, turned out not to lack in truthfulness, as developments in the women's football team later demonstrated.
Finally, and in the same way, another journalist was threatened to be taken to court because of reporting about two referees that had been suspended from their work because they had been practising the rules in a bad way.
Having in mind all these experiences, the semi-independent Equatoguinean newspaper 'La Gaceta' in its sports section asked the authorities to clarify "to whom do sports journalists have to answer, remembering that many are civil servants in diferent broadcast and paper media?"
- Why is it so that the media are accused when one knows that sports are recreational and lucrative activities with a golden rule of knowing how to win and how to lose? the newspaper added. "One has to respect the teams and the audience, and sports leaders should not turn matches into political activities or - even worse - prevent sports journalists from doing their work."
- We are sincerely waiting for an answer to our concerns and that it is defined to whom do sports journalists have to answer, the appeal concludes.
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