afrol News, 11 March - No newspapers were distributed today in Côte d'Ivoire, after pro-Gbagbo troops raided the country's sole newspaper distributor. Journalists and media are increasingly targeted.
Members of the Defence and Security Forces (FDS), loyal to outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo, raided the offices of country's only newspaper distributor, Edipresse, at around 5 AM today and prevented employees from distributing newspapers that support Gbagbo's rival, elected President Alassane Ouattara, regardless of the lack of any order from the National Press Council, which regulates the print media.
A subsidiary of the French company Presstalis, Edipresse decided jointly with its retailers not to sell any newspapers at all today in protest against the raid and as a safety measure.
According to the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters sans Frontières (RSF), also the Abidjan headquarters of the Abidjan.net website decided to suspend operations today, after receiving threats.
According to Ivorian media sources, the protracted political impasse is creating "an extremely grave if not impossible situation" for journalists and news media in the country.
As Côte d'Ivoire seems to head steadily towards civil war, with casualties every day, journalists are being exposed to threats, arrests and reprisals, and often have to risk lives to report in some neighbourhoods. Especially pro-Gbagbo forces seem to be targeting journalists and media.
Two journalists are currently detained in Côte d'Ivoire, while one media worker has been killed in the past two weeks. The detainees are Abou Sanogo and Gnahoré Charly of 'Télé Notre Patrie' (TVNP), who were arrested on 28 January and are being held in the main Abidjan prison.
Marcel Legré, a printing press worker at 'La Refondation', the company that publishes the pro-Gbagbo daily 'Notre Voie', was hacked and clubbed to death on 28 February in the south Abidjan district of Koumassi.
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