The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is calling on authorities in Guinea Bissau to investigate the latest attack on a radio station known for criticising the country’s leadership.
The call by the lobby that fights for the safeguarding of freedom of press comes after the Radio Capital FM management raised an alarm after attacks on their staff. Now CPJ says the government must guarantee safety of the journalists and other media teams working at the radio station.
“Authorities in Guinea-Bissau must ensure that this time around, those responsible for attacking Radio Capital FM and terrorising its journalists and media workers are arrested and held to account,” Ms Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator is quoted as saying.
“The continued impunity for attacks on journalists in Guinea-Bissau has given armed thugs the licence, once again, to destroy equipment and force off air a radio station critical of the government of President Umaro Sissoco Embaló, believing that there will be no consequences,” she added.
On Monday, a group of four unidentified men fired at the privately owned radio station’s headquarters in Bissau, broke into the office and ransacked it.
At least five people, including journalists, technicians and administrative staff, were injured following the attack at the radio station's premises.
Radio Capital FM head said that a journalist injured in the attack on the station by armed men needs medical treatment at a specialised centre abroad.
"The journalist Maimuna Bari is in a serious condition and needs urgent specialised medical care. The others are out of danger and have received the requisite assistance," Lassana Cassamá told Lusa, the Portuguese news agency.
“Radio Capital FM is a station that often reports critically on the government of President Umaro Sissoco Embaló, and that morning had hosted a call-in show for listeners to comment on the country’s failed February 1 coup attempt,” Santos said.
The World Press Freedom Index 2021 compiled by Reporters Without Borders ranks Guinea Bissau 95 out of 180 countries surveyed just one place below the previous year and in 2019 the country was ranked 89.
This means, Guinea Bissau scored poorly on indicators such as pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety of journalists.
Drug trafficking, corruption, and related crimes pose a serious challenge to the capability of Guinea-Bissau to progress on a path of democracy, good governance, and legitimate free market development, the US Department of State says.