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«In these countries, a genocide is but a trifle».
Statement by François Mitterrand about the
extermination of one million Tutsis by the Rwandan Hutu Government backed up by the State of France within one hundred days
France can take pride in an endless curriculum of a country causing massacres and genocides. From Napoleon Bonaparte to Jacques Chirac, through Charles de Gaulle and François Mitterrand, scores of French Heads of State have contributed to the loss of a nation that was once described as a highly civilized nation. How can a country with her hands dripping with blood and with so many skeletons in the closet dare claim a status of paragon of virtue and lecture anybody? Why does a country like France, self-proclaimed Land of Human Rights, nurture such a morbid admiration for manslaughters and genocides?
The pangs sustained in watching outstanding movies like “Tuez-les tous – Kill them all” by Raphaël Glucksmann, “La victoire aux mains nues – Barehanded Victory” by Sidiki Bakaba, “L’assassinat de Félix Moumié. L’Afrique sous contrôle – The Assassination of Félix Moumié or Africa under Control” by Frank Garbely, “1802, l’épopée guadeloupéenne – 1802, the Guadeloupean Epic” by Christian Lara or “Lord of war” by Andrew Niccol, short of providing a formal explanation, confront the audience with an unbearable reality. There is no way one can walk out of the cinema unscathed, because the times spent on taking in historically fair and testified abominations - swaying between fascination and repulsion until one falls into an abyss of nauseous impotency - end up bringing about a burst of revolt, at least in victims of the committed exactions and their descendants. Genuine blows in the stomach, these movies and documentaries are all the more arresting as they cast an icy glare on a boundless governmental cynicism. And they raise the issue of individual and collective accountability.
In 2006 French people exceeds by far that of Nazi Germany
Over sixty years after Hitler’s demise and the end of World War II, Germans are still shrouded in the opprobrium resulting from the Shoah. But the French, onlookers of the repulsive crimes instigated by their leaders and ongoing up to date, remain composed. It is worth mentioning the reaction of ordinary French citizens, which consists in blaming on their political leaders and exclusively on them the responsibility of this recurrent inhumanity for the committed horrors and the resulting dishonor when such horrors are too gaudy to be denied. The cowardice, blindness, indifference the French public opinion displays daily betrays an irrepressible ambition to give itself the image of a people superior to others more than a renunciation. Building on the silent approval of their populations, the State of France has reviewed and revised the Nietzschean principle of übermensch (overman): for Africans, France coined up the concept of “non-man”. And the frightening parallelism between the current France and Adolf Hitler’s national-socialistic Germany does not stop there.
Despite five centuries of involvement of France in slave deportation (Haiti), colonial expeditions in Africa, hecatombs (Algeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Malagasy, Nigeria, Rwanda) and murders (Ben Barka, Félix Moumié, Dulcie September), French public opinion still refuses and will not break up its own taboos and continues to remain in a stance of infantilism, irresponsibility and collusion before heinous crimes committed on its behalf, inducing inevitably its damnation in Africans’ psyche. While Germans yesterday and today recognize their collective guilt in the perpetration of the Jews’ genocide initiated by Hitler, the monstrous brotherly French people remains confined to amnesia, blindness and impunity, renews its inhumanity ad vitam aeternam and the exterminating nihilism of its leaders vis-à-vis Africa. Instead of facing up to the hideous reality the French had rather give in to State propaganda, which makes them believe in the goodness of France to these “poor niggers”, who have nothing to eat, nothing in their brains and can only kill one another.
Charles de Gaulle, a Nigger and Maghrebi Killing-machine
For centuries, French policy in Africa has been leaving behind it a stinking and bloody trail. It resorts to any kinds of wars – diplomatic, military, logistic, media, financial – against States and peoples who are vital for the geo-strategic interests and economic stability of France, although they are deemed small fry in the popular French imagination.
On 8 May 1945 in Sétif, Guelma, Kherata and Djidjelli in Algeria, the French government stemming from the Resistance movement and led by Charles de Gaulle is going to carry out a Dantean repression by having 45,000 Algerians - whose crime was to have dared to stage a protest to claim their independence - killed. Later on, on 17 October 1961, more than 325 Algerian nationals were butchered in Paris by the French police by order of Prefect Maurice Papon for protesting against the enforcement of a selective curfew applying only to “French Muslims from Algerian origin”
While de Gaulle was still the leader of France, the Congo neighborhood in Douala was thunderstruck on 24 April 1960. Suspecting the presence of several fighters from the independentist movement - Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC – Union of the People of Cameroon) – French troops bombed the neighborhood with napalm, dooming all the residents to death. Those who attempted to escape the fire were shot there and then by the French troops who circled the whole neighborhood. Thousands of children, women and men died within a few hours and their corpses were readily disposed of in wells. The next morning the Congo neighborhood was a no man’s land.
Later on, to break the resistance who had retreated to the chains of mountains in the West of the country, Colonel Lamberton, a French officer, set about triggering off a collective neurosis calling into question the legitimacy of Bamileke people’s being part of the Cameroonian ethnic landscape. “Cameroon is embarking onto the paths of independence with a stone that is much of a nuisance in its shoes. This stone is the presence of the Bamiléké, an ethnic minority that is prey to convulsions whose origin and causes nobody knows clearly about. No doubt Cameroon is henceforth free to enforce the policy she likes and the Bamiléké issues fall into the remit of her government. Yet, France cannot be uninterested in such an issue. Didn’t she make the commitment to guide the initial steps of this young State and didn’t she bequeath her unsolved problems?» Under the leadership of Jacques Foccart, de Gaulle’s brainpower for the management of African affairs, who sponsored the assassination of Félix Moumié, UPC leader in Geneva, a military campaign was conducted in Western Cameroon resulting in the near-extermination of a whole tribe. According to one of the actors of this slaughter, Max Bardet, a French helicopter pilot: “In a span of two years, from 1962 to 1964, […] they butchered 300,000-400,000 individuals. That was a real genocide. They virtually wiped out the race. With assegais against automatic weapons, Bamiléké had no chance”. Pierre Guillauma, then French Minister of the Armies will later on describe the crushing of the Bamiléké uprise by the French expeditionary force providing support to the Army of Ahmadou Ahidjo, designated by Paris as the President of Cameroon as “appropriate”. As to Pierre Messmer, then High-Commissioner, it is with an undisguised jubilation that he acknowledges the existence of “regrouping camps” in the Bassa land - Sanaga Maritime, Cameroon - following the pattern of German concentration camps: “These were camps with barbed wires. You know I was detained as a prisoner in a camp in Germany for some times so I knew how things went on.” he confided into the Swiss film-maker, Frank Garbely, bursting into laughter.
In 1966, de Gaulle made the decision to encourage Biafran secessionists. Indeed, for the Elysée – French presidential palace -, a fragmentation of Nigeria provided not only an opportunity to check Soviet interference at the edges of its “sphere of influence” but would mostly provide a new source of oil supply, especially as France had become highly dependent since the “loss” of Algeria. Under the cover of a “humanitarian” action, and with the assistance of his serfs such as Félix Houphouët-Boigny from Côte d’Ivoire and Albert (Omar) Bongo from Gabon, Foccart had arms supplied to Biafrans eight months before their declaration of independence - a DC4 conveying such arms even crashed on 11 October 1966 in Cameroon. Although she knew fully well in advance that this war would be lost, France backed up to the end Colonel Ojukwu’s war against the Nigerian Army, which ended with a death toll of one million individuals.
François Mitterrand, Embodiment of Absolute Evil
By stamping out any possibility to be condemned, the people of France and the successive French governments grant themselves de facto the right to repeat endlessly the perpetration and trivialization of Evil. Better than all the Heads of the State of France before him, Mitterrand displayed a terrifying lucidity in determining and committing horrendous acts when it came to Africa.
In 1986, while the Apartheid system was subject to an international boycott following the massacre of school children in Soweto, France supplied arms, oil, coal and nuclear technology to P.W. Botha, racist President of South Africa. Dulcie September, the representative of the African National Congress (ANC) in France became a threat for the French government as she was in possession of hot details on this traffic. She was shot point blank five times on 29 March 1988 after the refusal of Charles Pasqua, the then French Interior Minister, to provide her police protection although she had been threatened. According to the investigation of the Dutch journalist Evelyne Groeninck, the assassination was committed by Jean-Paul Guerrier, assistant of Bob Denard, the mercenary approved by the State of France and kingpin of most of his dirty tricks and unavowable schemings in Africa. This assassination was allegedly sponsored by a South African service in liaison with the DGSE – French Intelligence and Espionage Service. Thanks to Dulcie September’s timely disappearance, Mitterrand’s France was able to avoid compromising disclosures of her circumvention of the boycott of the Apartheid system decreed by the UN and of the fact that she had become the major arms supplier to Pretoria.
Mitterrand has been close to one of the key French collaborationists during the German occupation: René Bousquet, Secretary General of Police services in Vichy. Were it his Vichy experiences that fueled in him the desire to carry out his own genocide, achieve the unconceivable? Fact is that his action on the Black continent was as disastrous for Africans as Hitler’s for Jews. A small East-African country was going to serve as his playground.
On the independence of Rwanda, Tutsis - a minority ethnic group accounting for 10 % of the population - are subject to a genuine apartheid and compelled to flee to neighboring countries. After several attempts to come back to their motherland by the late 1980s Tutsis set up the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) – a political and military organization – which the moderate Hutu opponents joined. From Uganda the RPF launched an attack against the Juvénal Habyarimana’s ethnic and racial regime on 1st October 1990. “We had several options: either remain everlasting refugees and stateless individuals; or continue to hope that one day the international community would solve the problem or face the sad reality and realize that oppression being exercised by force it could only be withstood by force” said Paul Kagamé, leader of the RPF and current President of the Republic of Rwanda. For the subsequent four years, Habyarimana and his people endeavored to transform a political war into a racial conflict opposing Hutus and Tutsis. To that end they had choice allies: the French President François Mitterrand, who will co-produce without heart qualms the last genocide of XXth century; Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization, who will flood the international community with untruths and scandalous euphemisms; and Kofi Atta Annan, the deputy UN Secretary General responsible for peacekeeping operations, who, in April 1994, objected definitely to the request for reinforcements submitted by Roméo Dallaire, Canadian General and Commander of the United Nations Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) to be able to dismantle caches of weapons considerable enough to exterminate 1000 Tutsi within twenty minutes: “It must be clearly understood that if the UNAMIR can provide aid or assistance in such operations, I repeat that it cannot play an active part in their execution. The UNAMIR has a strictly surveillance role.”
On the pretext of defending French influence in Africa, François Mitterrand provided full support to Habyarimana’s fascist regime. Since his accession to power in 1981, he developed very close relationships with the authorities in Rwanda, country at the edge of the Anglophone sphere and commanding access to Zaïre and all its wealth. Jean-Christophe, his son, who led the African Unit at the Elysée, even visited Kigali quite often. “One notices an incredible complicity, companionship nobody anything understands about between Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, son of the French President, and Jean-Pierre Habyarimana, son of the Rwandan President», testified Thérèse Pujolle, Head of the French civilian cooperation mission in Kigali in 1981-1984. Thus, in response to the request of the putschist dictator, France got directly involved by the sides of the Rwandan Army through the Noroît operation and thwarted momentarily the RPF’s military offensive of October 90. Concurrently, the French troops trained and supervised the Hutu army, who trained the youth of the ruling party organized in death squads, Interahamwe and “self-defense” units set up in villages. Concomitantly, Crédit Lyonnais lent the funds required to purchase arms - machetes and guns – required to exterminate Tutsis.
Habyarimana’s entourage became increasingly radical. Through Radio Télévision des Mille Collines, voice pipe of the radical terror by the Hutu Power, led by Ferdinand Nahimana and co-funded by the President’s wife, hatred was disseminated and calls to murders and massacres launched. Even President Habyarimana was openly threatened because he was suddenly found excessively moderate. The radio covertly announced his assassination for Easter 1994 and asked Hutus to be ready for a large-scale action. In effect, Juvénal Habyarimana’s aircraft was shot while landing in Kigali on 6 April 1994. It was the starting signal, the appropriate pretext for “an insignificant genocide” to quote François Mitterrand, but a genocide carefully planned long ahead and which claimed the lives of one million individuals within one hundred days.
For Mitterrand, the game of power became the backdrop of a political project, which was not itself an ultimate end but the justification of heinous behaviors and games of alliances. From the start, he endorsed the principle behind the genocide. In January 1992 in Paris, Paul Dijoud, Director for African and Malagasy Affairs at the Quai d’Orsay, whose deputy was Dominique de Villepin, the former French Prime Minister, spoke thus to Paul Kagame: “You must stop fighting and let Habyarimana take you onboard and solve your problems. To start with, you cannot beat the government troops and seize power; you are wasting your time. But anyway, if ever you reached Kigali and seized power you would find none of yours alive.”
France does not limit herself to being the only Western country to recognize the legitimacy of the interim anti-tutsi and exterminationist government; she is going to give it support during meetings held on the premises of the French Embassy in Kigali. France initiated the Amaryllis operation – led by General Poncet, who will later lead the Licorne Operation in the Ivory Coast - on the official pretext of evacuating around 1,500 European nationals, and more covertly the pillars of the Hutu Power – amongst whom Agathe Habyarimana, the widow of the assassinated President – diehard of diehards of the regime – but its actual purpose was to supply arms to the Hutu genocide perpetrators. Some French officers took an active part in the ethnocide on the ground. Mobilized by the extermination of Tutsis, governmental forces, assisted by French troops could not stop the progress of Kagame’s army. The political option of the Kigali-Paris axis was clear: the genocide was to take precedence over the military conflict with the RPF. The victorious progress of the Tutsi troops put an end to massacres but was a nightmare for the Elysée. Mitterrand considered then waging a direct war against the only force that put an end to the genocide and mounted the Turquoise Operation, a most dubious “humanitarian” mission: deployment of Jaguar and Mirage aircraft, attack helicopters, and hundreds of armored vehicles, of large mortars but very little equipment necessary for the conduct of a humanitarian mission. Giving finally up the idea of attacking the RPF in Kigali, the soldiers of the Turquoise Operation were acclaimed and celebrated by the genocide perpetrators, covered up the withdrawal of the defeated Hutu army and were instrumental in allowing a salvaging exile in Mobutu’s much Francophile Zaïre. As a last measure of reprisal against those who thwarted her huge ethnic cleansing scheme, France would freeze all financial support of the World Bank and the European Union to the new Tutsi government in power in Kigali up to 25 November 1994.
Under the leadership of François Mitterrand, for four years, France was involved in a genocide and guilty of an agreement to perpetrate a genocide, of complicity of genocide and crime against humanity. The genocide is a crime that regards mankind as a whole; acknowledging its existence is a compelling duty for everyone for denying it equates with trivializing its horror. Recognizing one’s responsibility in the perpetration of a genocide or a large-scale massacre and accepting the ensuing sanction is not only the first step towards redemption, but also helps prevent insulting the memory of victims and enables survivors to savagery acts to start their mourning process and regain control.
Interrogated on the lack of resipiscence of the State of France as to its high-level of involvement in the last twentieth century genocide, Hubert Védrine, Secretary general of the Elysée at the time when the events took place and as noxious figure as Jacques Foccart, mocked at this “type of trifle religious fashion, this obsession for confession”. So many horrendous acts have been committed since immemorial times that one could well spend days and days repenting; there are much better things to do. Alain Juppé, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the cohabitation government of France during the genocide – the one Jacques Chirac affectively refers to as “the best of us” – went even further: “I nurture a sentiment of proud legitimacy in the way France set the pattern. In my political life I have happened to make mistakes. In this specific case, if I had to do it again I would do anew exactly the same thing in the same manner, with the same conviction, and the same enthusiasm.”
Jacques Chirac, the Evil Doer
This stunning France-Africa policy which brought about the killing of one million individuals within three months in Rwanda and which is the entourage of the successor of François Mitterand as leader of the State of France boast in predicts in many regards the methods Jacques Chirac is going to use to get rid of those who would like to call into question the “French preserve” in Africa. And this is not going to be long to materialize.
In Jacques Chirac’s view, the African is an object, inanimate and therefore soul-less, whose smells annoy him and is “not mature for democracy”. As a result, he cannot come round to the idea that an insignificant history and geography teacher, who has become President of the Ivorian showpiece by winning elections he did not hold, after thirty years of “pacifist” opposition to his great chum Houphouët-Boigny, should question the order established through an agreement signed on 24 April 1961 and henceforth known as the colonial Pact.
This is yet what Laurent Gbagbo is going to do. During the years he spent in the opposition, in exile and prison where he regularly stayed – so did his family – on Houphouët-Boigny’s order, he has had time to fine-tune a governance project for the time when he and his political party, the Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI – Popular Ivorian Front -), would win the elections. Free schooling, generalized health insurance coverage, decentralization, freedom of the press, granting of major raw materials development and construction contracts on the basis of selection of the lowest responsible bidder – which equates virtually to excluding French companies – … Gbagbo’s project is strongly afrocentrist and jeopardizes French interests.
To side-track to the impenitent, Chirac is ready to fully implement a genocidal logic behind of the France-Africa policy that has been in use for innumerable generations even if at the beginning of the “conflict” that opposes him to Laurent Gbagbo, he reckoned at no time that the coup d’Etat he was staging through Mali and Burkina could last for a while before successful completion. Supervision and training of an army, arm supplies, organization of propaganda, instrumentalization of humanitarian organizations and the media: everything is fine-tuned and ready. A political and military opposition is set up. France funds the training and arming of those who are tasked with toppling Gbagbo’s regime, while Burkina Faso, led by Blaise Compaoré - quite reliable murderer - provides them board and bread and training camps. In the meanwhile, an infernal propaganda machinery that compares to Goebbels’ is set into motion. A threat of religious ethnocide by the Southerners - who are for most part Christians - against Northerners who are largely Muslims is fabricated. Harped on in all the international organizations, this allegation is going to be embedded in the collective western and even global psyche. Radio France International (RFI) - the Radio Télévision des Mille Collines of the Governement of France – does the same work of preparation of massacre and appeal to violence. A genuine untruthful media terror operation is launched and involves also some public and private French television channels, AFP and Reuters news agencies, and also newspapers of good repute, in principle, such as Le Monde, Libération, Le Figaro.
On 19 Septembre 2002 while as if by chance tens of French journalists and reporters arrived a few days before in Abidjan the cue was given and the assailants launched an attack throughout the country. In excess of 300 casualties were recorded in a day, in Abidjan only. The President was in Rome; this time it would not be necessary to shoot down an aircraft. To stay alive, all he would have to do was to stay away from the country. Chirac gave him a ring to ensure a gilded exile in France, as if everything was set in advance. Gbagbo, however, came back to Abidjan and Chirac’s trifle simplistic scenario fizzled out. He summoned all the stakeholders in the conflict – his henchmen as well as his adversaries – in a rugby center at Marcoussis in the neighbourhood of Paris. All the participants - except for the State of Côte d’Ivoire that was not represented - are going to sign agreements aimed at stripping off the elected president of his powers.
Chirac is no less noxious than his predecessors but is in no way talented. And Jacques Foccart, de Gaulle’s éminence grise that he had brought back into service after he took office as President to offset his glaring lack of strategic knack, died some time ago. Years go by, Gbagbo is still in place and Chirac is losing patience and has subsequently made the decision to take off his mask. Since Ivoirians are incapable of killing one another as anticipated, then the State of France is going to take control. French troops of the Licorne operation are officially out there to have “a confidence zone between the North and the South respected.” However, they are rather going to distribute arms and propagate ethnic hatred in the “rebels’” withdrawal zone under the cover of humanitarian actions like the distribution of medications. And for four days, that is from November 6 to November 9, 2004 as in Rwanda, the French troops shot unarmed Ivorian civilians point blank, perpetrating thus a massacre; filmed in broad daylight and broadcast around the world by – sublime irony – cameras of French TV channels. They also attacked the Head of State’s residence to do away with him for keeps. But there also, they failed. Like in Rwanda, the French army supervises, protects and helps escape the perpetrators of exactions of all kinds, of rapes, tortures, holdups, assassinations when they are not the perpetrators themselves. Like in Rwanda, they build on the UNO to legitimate their Mephistophelian savagery. Kofi Annan, the Man who had refused to send additional UN forces that could have forestalled the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, became in the meanwhile the UN Secretary General and the best ally of Chirac’ machinery. Yet, despite all these efforts, notwithstanding this coalition of murderous powers, despite the considerable means invested in this full-fledged war Jacques Chirac is waging against the new Ivory Coast, France is still not successful in reaching her target although she stubbornly will not give up. Chirac is a conscientious monster, who regrets nothing, except for not having yet been able to complete the destructive mission he has set to himself.
One day, Erinyes will strike French Citizens
Drawing a comparison between the murderous act in Oradour-sur-Glane by Germans in 1944, the wipe-out of the Congo neighborhood in Cameroon by de Gaulle’s men in 1960 and the massacre of Ivoirians in front of Hôtel Ivoire by the French Licorne troops in 2004 may seem inadmissible for the French but is obvious for victims. In the latter’s views there is no difference. France hates the probing of her past, which too often lets the filthy acts that mark her history come up to the surface. Yet, as with Faust, a hand has been repeatedly reached out to her to make amends. But heinous and dogged, she has always refused to take that hand.
No nation, no matter how democratic it may be, is safe from such abominations that are designed and planned by some intellectuals, students from the Ecole Nationale d’Administration, politicians, and economists, but fully well condoned and endorsed by the rank and file. French taxpayers took to the street by the hundred thousands to protest against the announced war of the USA in Irak. But none of them has risen up once against the repeated afrocides committed on their behalf, with their money by their leaders on the lands of Africa, whose wealth are pillaged to provide them a decent living while the legitimate owners, who are deprived, can hardly survive when they are not simply killed. While the State of France has brutally and deliberately suppressed the lives of millions of African – and continues to do so –, the indoctrinated French public opinion pretends to be in the grip of a selective aphonia, amnesia, agnosia and cataract to make a tradition of revisionist and negationistic State last longer.
Will the French be one day able to destroy the very essence of the cruelty that characterizes them? “Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich will become names that compare to Napoléon, Robespierre or Saint Just” Jean Amery, Austrian Jew philosopher who survived Auschwitz (1912-1978) had predicted. Today, de Gaulle, Mitterrand, Chirac and Sarkozy can be added to this demonic list for, intoxicated by their power, they achieved the unendurable by trampling naturally down on their duties of humaneness towards Africa and the rest of the world.
(Article first published in French in 2006)
Un mois après la chute de Laurent Gbagbo, la presse ivoirienne dans la tourmente
Un mois tout juste après l’arrestation de Laurent Gbagbo et l’accession au pouvoir d’Alassane Ouattara, la situation de la presse en Côte d’Ivoire demeure problématique. Si certains
journalistes menacés ont finalement pu reprendre le travail, les journaux d’opposition, favorables à l’ancien chef de l’Etat, ne paraissent toujours pas. Les locaux du quotidien Notre
Voie, proche du Front populaire ivoirien (FPI, parti de Laurent Gbagbo) sont même occupés par des éléments armés.
Reporters sans frontières exprime sa déception et demande aux nouvelles autorités d’agir rapidement pour restaurer un climat de confiance chez les journalistes et surtout permettre aux journaux d’opposition de préparer leur retour en kiosques.
"L’absence de presse d’opposition porte un coup très dur à la liberté de la presse en Côte d’Ivoire. Dans ces conditions, nous craignons que ne se développe le règne de la pensée unique. Le gouvernement d’Alassane Ouattara suscite des attentes dans le domaine du respect des libertés. Il doit les satisfaire", a déclaré l’organisation.
Aucune disposition officielle n’empêche les journaux d’opposition de paraître, mais le saccage des rédactions des quotidiens Notre Voie et Le Temps ainsi que l’incendie criminel de leur imprimerie ont créé des dommages très conséquents. De plus, la rédaction de Notre Voie est depuis quelques temps occupée par des soldats des Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI) qui interdisent l’accès des lieux aux journalistes.
"Cette situation est tout à fait nouvelle. Dans le passé, les locaux du Patriote, quotidien favorable à Alassane Ouattara, avaient été attaqués et détruits, mais jamais occupés comme le sont ceux de Notre Voie aujourd’hui. Nous ne comprenons pas le comportement des FRCI qui violent de façon flagrante le droit des employés de ce journal de se rendre sur leur lieu de travail", a estimé Reporters sans frontières.
Dans un discours prononcé au Conseil national de la presse, le 3 mai 2011, à l’occasion de la vingtième Journée internationale de la liberté de la presse, le ministre de l’Intérieur et de la Communication, Hamed Bakayoko, a eu des mots peu rassurants vis-à-vis des médias. Sa déclaration s’apparentait plutôt à une mise en garde. "La liberté oui, mais elle a ses limites. La liberté a une certaine frontière. On ne parle plus de liberté quand elle transcende certaines valeurs. Des gens avaient pensé que l’impunité était sans limite. Il faut qu’ils réalisent que ce n’est plus possible. On ne peut pas déstabiliser le tissu social simplement parce qu’on est journaliste. Nous n’allons pas accepter que la presse enfonce la Côte d’Ivoire. La presse porte une responsabilité importante dans cette crise. Les journaux et les journalistes ont voulu être aux avant-postes des politiques, ils ont voulu aller plus loin que les politiques", a-t-il déclaré.
D’autre part, Reporters sans frontières déplore la persistance dans la presse ivoirienne d’articles désignant certaines personnalités à la vindicte populaire. Le 10 mai 2011, le quotidien Nord-Sud a publié une photo du directeur de publication de Notre Voie, César Etou, pour illustrer un article intitulé "César Etou attise le feu de la haine". Le quotidien reproche au journaliste d’avoir contacté des organisations de défense des droits de l’Homme pour se plaindre du manque de respect des droits de Simone Gbagbo et de son entourage depuis leur arrestation.
En attendant la reprise de la Radio-Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI), Reporters sans frontières exhorte Télévision Côte d’Ivoire (TCI) à se comporter comme un média de service public en arrêtant de diffuser les slogans de campagne du candidat Ouattara et des chansons qui font son apologie. La TCI avait été créée par le camp Ouattara dans une démarche de résistance, elle doit désormais s’adresser à tous les Ivoiriens depuis qu’elle remplace la RTI et qu’Alassane Ouattara est devenu chef de l’Etat
Dans la mesure où l’espace audiovisuel n’est pas encore libéralisé en Côte d’Ivoire, les nouvelles autorités devraient préciser quel est le statut exact de la TCI. Reporters sans frontières rappelle qu’au moment de sa création, début 2011, il s’agissait d’un média pirate.
Enfin, l’organisation prend acte de la transformation du Conseil national de la communication audiovisuelle (CNCA) en Haute autorité de la communication audiovisuelle. La nomination de l’ancien ministre de la Communication, Ibrahim Sy Savané, à la tête de cette institution apparaît comme un signe d’ouverture prometteur. Reporters sans frontières espère que cette nomination va donner un coup d’accélérateur à la réforme libéralisant l’espace audiovisuel.
Reporters Sans Frontières
Le 10 mai 2011