- Gabon’s media regulator, Conseil National de la Communication (CNC) suspended two privately-owned newspapers, ‘La Nation’, and ‘Le Gri-Gri International‘.
‘La Nation’ is a bi-monthly publication based in the capital Libreville while ‘Le Gri-Gri International’ is a satirical paper published in Paris but distributed in Gabon.
In a statement, the CNC said based on a complaint filed against ’La Nation’ by the Minister of Culture and Arts, the paper was suspended for a month. Blandine Marundu ma Mihindou was furious over the paper’s August article titled \"Does Blandine Marundi deserve to be a minister?“ the paper denounced the minister’s \"resistance to change and lack of experience.\"
The publisher of ‘La Nation’, Blaise Mengue-Mena, told the Kinshasa-based media watchdog Journaliste that they were summoned to appear before the CNC in late September, but there was no sufficient evidence against the paper.
The CNC has also banned the publication and distribution in Gabon of ‘Le Gri-Gri International’ until its status is “regularised”. The media regular’s argued that the paper had never established itself as a Gabonese press, although its last issue was printed in the country.
The paper’s printer and distributor, VCP and Sogapress, have been ordered to desist from offering services to the Paris-based media until it has regularised its status with the Gabonese government.
Due to censorship of its content by the VCP printers, the paper’s 27 September issue could not be distributed in Gabon.
A front page story on the said issue lampooned President Omar Bongo [nicknamed Mullah Omar] over his announcement over the imminent development of iron mines in Belinga, describing it as a “Gabonese deception.” The newspaper also expressed concern about pollution and ecosystem destruction at the local and national level as a result of this development.
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