Maintenance. We are currently updating the site. Please check back shortly
Members login
  • TrustLaw
  • Members Portal
Subscribe

Gabon advised to repeal 2001 media law and draft new legislation

Source: Reporters Without Borders - Thu, 2 May 2013 01:22 PM
Author: Reporters Without Borders
med-dev
A view of a street near the Libreville bus station February 14, 2012. REUTERS/Luc Gnago
Tweet Recommend Google + LinkedIn Bookmark Email Print
Leave us a comment

Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Reporters Without Borders wrote to the Gabonese government today with its recommendations for the government's planned reform of the 2001 broadcasting, cinematographic and print media law.

The recommendations were prepared after the government told Reporters Without Borders it wanted to modernize its media legislation and submitted a draft of the new law to Reporters Without Borders and its legal department for their comments.

The initiative was also the result of a Reporters Without Borders visit to Libreville from 6 to 9 February.

In its 11 pages of recommendations, Reporters Without Borders points out that the law in effect in Gabon since 2001 does not meet the applicable standards governing freedom of expression and media freedom, and furthermore makes no provision for online media, social networks and blogs.

Rather than amending the 2001 law, Reporters Without Borders has recommended repealing it and drafting a completely new law.

"As drafted, the proposed new law does not in any way change the spirit of the 2001 law, which is clearly unsuited to Gabon's new media landscape, to the new democratic practices desired by the Gabonese public and media, and to international democratic standards," Reporters Without Borders said.

"Gabon needs to draft a new law from the bottom up, one that is written with a new approach and sets an example of respect for freedom of expression and the rights of journalists, while at the same time protecting the rights of the country's citizens."

Reporters Without Borders emphasizes the importance of decriminalizing media offences, in other words, abolishing prison sentences for journalists convicted of defamation or insult.

Mischievous comments

After Reporters Without Borders visited Libreville, an article was posted on a Libreville website with the headline "Reporters Without Borders is going to work for the Gabonese president's office."

Reporters Without Borders would like to stress that it is not "working for" the Gabonese president's office. It has provided the Gabonese government with recommendations on media legislation, as it has done in a dozen other countries in the past, and receives absolutely no form of remuneration for this work.

Similarly, some malicious commentators tried to foster suspicions about the funding for the Reporters Without Borders visit to Gabon on President Ali Bongo's "invitation."

Reporters Without Borders responded positively to an invitation to go to Libreville and talk with government officials. All costs connected with the flight and stay were paid for by Reporters Without Borders. The visit did not cost the Gabonese government anything.

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see our Acceptable Use Policy.

comments powered by Disqus
TOPICAL CONTENT
Topical content
LATEST SLIDESHOW

Latest slideshow

See allSee all
FEATURED JOBS
Featured jobs