RSF’s calls for overhaul of Gabonese media’s “executioner”

first_imgNews The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa GabonAfrica Condemning abusesMedia independence Freedom of expression Communiqué of the decision of the High Authority for Communication (HAC) to suspend the newspaper Fraternité, by its deputy spokesman, Mr. Mouwaka Ngonga, on June 20, 2019. Credit: Gabon Television Group January 24, 2020 Find out more Help by sharing this information News November 27, 2020 Find out more After another media outlet’s arbitrary suspension by Gabon’s High Authority for Communication (HAC), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for an overhaul of the way this media regulator functions so that it fulfils its original role of defending press freedom instead of the government’s interests. Organisation Gabonese journalist could spend New Year’s Eve in prison RSF_en center_img News June 26, 2019 RSF’s calls for overhaul of Gabonese media’s “executioner” Receive email alerts Follow the news on Gabon to go further Dubbed the “AXE” by Gabon’s journalists because of its propensity for “executing” media outlets by closing them down, the HAC lived up to its reputation again on 20 June by ordering the newspaper Fraternité to stop publishing for a month because of a 13 June article headlined “Who runs Gabon?” that questioned President Ali Bongo’s ability to govern since a stroke last October.Claiming that the article contained “malicious, defamatory, insulting and mendacious insinuations” causing “harm to the president’s honour and dignity,” the HAC also demanded the immediate removal of the offending issue from newsstands and other points of sale. Fraternité told RSF it intended to appeal to the HAC against this decision and might refer the matter to the courts.“Since it started operating a year ago the HAC has ordered a dozen arbitrary suspensions, preventing various media outlets from publishing or broadcasting for a combined total of 28 months,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “This is a disastrous record. This regulator is clearly being used to defend the regime’s interests and inflict punishments on the media instead of fulfilling its most important mission: to defend press freedom. Only a complete overhaul of its functioning and composition would allow journalists the freedom to speak their minds and serve the public interest by covering all subjects, even the most politically sensitive ones.”Created by government decree on 23 February 2018 to replace the National Council for Communication (CNC), the HAC is a supposedly independent government offshoot but seven of its nine members are appointed by the ruling authorities, and it inflicts almost systematic sanctions on media outlets that criticize the president or his close associates.In November 2018, the daily newspaper L’Aube was suspended for three months for referring to the president’s health. Five months later, in April 2019, it was suspended again, this time for six months, for publishing a spoof interview with President Bongo’s former chief of staff as an April Fool’s joke, and for an interview with Désiré Enamé, the editor of Echos du Nord, a newspaper that has also been suspended several times, in which he condemned the “extraordinary persecution of targeted newspapers.”Gabon is ranked 115th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index, seven places lower than in 2018. Weekly seized from Gabon’s newsstands Reports GabonAfrica Condemning abusesMedia independence Freedom of expression December 31, 2019 Find out morelast_img read more

Mangrove Paradise Seeks US$2M for Agriculture, Tourism

first_imgPassengers board a canoe en route to Mangrove Paradise.(Photo by Kenneth Best, Jr.) A butterfly feasts on a piece of pineapple at Mangrove Paradise.(Photo by Kenneth Best, Jr.) Mangrove Paradise CEO, Pinky Bemah-Goll, converses with guests with a platter of freshly cut pineapple from her farm.(Photo by Kenneth Best, Jr.) Mangrove Paradise(Photo by Kenneth Best, Jr.) Overlooking the Du River toward Mangrove Paradise(Photo by Kenneth Best, Jr.) The Mangrove Paradise pineapple farm(Photo by Kenneth Best, Jr.) Landscape at Mangrove Paradise(Photo by Kenneth Best, Jr.) Pinky Bemah Goll: Tourism and Agriculture in this area will attract incomes for the locals.”(Photo: Judoemue Kollie)center_img Exotic flora in view at Mangrove Paradise(Photo by Kenneth Best, Jr.) Scenes from Mangrove Paradise, Liberia1 of 11 Exotic flora in view at Mangrove Paradise(Photo by Kenneth Best, Jr.) Pinky Bemah-Goll at her pineapple patch at Mangrove Paradise.(Photo: Judoemue Kollie)Mrs. Pinky Bemah Goll, a farmer, is seeking to boost agriculture and tourism in the mangrove swamp along the Robertsfield Highway, Montserrado County, as part of her stake in the Liberian economy. Therefore, she is seeking partnership from the public or private sector.With support from her family, she bought 100 acres of land where she has planted a variety of crops, and has planned to construct modern facilities for recreation purposes.Goll told the Daily Observer during a tour of her property over the weekend, that the initiative will create employment for the community and significantly contribute to the country’s economy.“Farming is my area of interest as my father and grandparents were farmers. But when I lived in the United States of America, I got to learn the importance of tourism. And so upon my return to Liberia, I started the ‘Mangrove Paradise’ to boost the tourism trade and agriculture,” Madam Goll said.She explained how the entire area was a complete forest in 2007, “but with my meager resources, I began to transform the area, and today, it is taking the face of a real business center to attract customers.”The Mangrove Paradise is an island on the Du River, just off the Robertsfield Highway. From the highway, a dirt road opposite the Baptist Theological Seminary leads to the river, at which point one must take a 10 minute canoe ride to the island. Once there, the island — a work in progress — offers breathtaking views and serenity, exotic fauna and flora, as well as juicy pineapple and other produce from the ground. A partial view of the Mangrove Paradise, off the Robertsfield highway.(Photo: Judoemue Kollie) According to Madam Goll, she initially invested US$35,000 to develop the farm and constructed few buildings to host visitors. However, she said, taking into consideration her project masterplan, it will cost her about US$2 million to transform the entire area into an attractive tourist center, something she said will require partnership from interested individuals to make the dream a reality.“Tourism on this river will contribute greatly to the economy, because  it will promote agriculture and tourism since we will sell wild cherries and pineapple juices to restaurant and hotel owners in Monrovia to raise income,” she said.“When the place is transformed as I have perceived it,” Madam Goll continued, “people from nearby villages will earn income by transporting visitors to the site by canoes to avoid traveling on foot on long distances to transact businesses.Like any other business center, the Mangrove Paradise is not free of challenges such as the lack of farming implements and pest control to maximize her farm’s produce.“I have cultivated 10 acres of lowland and 20 acres of upland with improved rice varieties, as well as over 1000 seedlings of pineapple that are harvested during the farming season,” she said.While Madam Goll said she is striving to succeed, she is seeking partnership with well-meaning individuals to make her dream a reality.“We would like to seek the assistance of the government or interested individuals to buttress our efforts because we believe that this vision can become a reality, provided we can secure the necessary finances,” she said.Meanwhile, Madam has called on the authority at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to arrest individuals who are constantly reportedly destroying the river at the Mangrove Paradise.“There are some unscrupulous individuals who are engage in using dynamite to kill the fish in the river,” she said, requesting authorities of the EPA to intervene and put an end to the situation.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more