Posted by: africanpressorganization | 26 March 2010

Gabon / Newspaper editor and reporter summoned three times over libel suit





Gabon / Newspaper editor and reporter summoned three times over libel suit



LIBREVILLE, Gabon, March 26, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Reporters Without Borders is baffled by the fact that Albert Yangari, the publisher and editor of the newspaper LUnion, and Jonas Moulenda, one of his reporters, have been summoned three times in connection with a libel suit brought by Alfred Nguia Banda, the former director-general of the Gabonese Shippers Council (CGC), which oversees maritime traffic in Gabon.

Bandas suit was prompted by an article by Moulenda in LUnions weekend edition on 28 November about the murder of Bandas successor as CGC director-general, Reniza, who had been stabbed to death on a street in the Libreville district of Saint-Benothree days earlier. The article suggested that the police should consider the hypothesis that Zizas death was linked to an audit he ordered.

At no point was the plaintiffs name mentioned in the article and the reporter just suggested a hypothesis, Reporters Without Borders said. There are absolutely no grounds for claiming that the article was libellous and we urge the judicial authorities to show some insight.

The press freedom organisation added: The authorities should moreover provide Moulenda with protection and conduct a serious investigation into the alarming threats he has been getting, which he reported to the police.

Moulenda has voiced his astonishment and concern at the failure of the authorities to say anything or take any action in response to his complaint.

Yangari and Moulenda have been summoned to three hearings. At the first, on 22 February, the lawsuit was dismissed. At the second, on 15 March, the plaintiff did not show up. The third hearing has been set for 29 March.



Reporters without Borders (RSF)


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