Gabon suspends journalist for questioning Bongo's health

Saturday August 24 2019

President Ali Bongo of Gabon makes his first

President Ali Bongo of Gabon makes his first live appearance in public nearly 10 months afer suffering a stroke, attending ceremonies in the capital Libreville. AFP   

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Gabon has revoked a journalist's accreditation for two months, accusing him of writing a "false" report that questioned the  tate of President Ali Bongo's health.

There has been widespread speculation about the 60-year-old leader's ability to rule since he suffered a stroke 10 months ago.

The article by Radio France Internationale (RFI) journalist Yves-Laurent Goma said  Bongo had failed to stand to salute troops during an independence day ceremony in Libreville at the weekend.

Gabon's media regulator, the High Authority of Communication (HAC), announced the journalist's suspension on national television on Thursday.

It said his article used "inaccurate information with malicious insinuations... questioning the physical integrity (of Bongo)", and that Bongo had risen during the ceremony "whenever necessary". 

The French radio station said Friday it "deplores" the decision against Goma, who has reported on the country for 17 years.


HAC also Thursday suspended one of Gabon's leading private online news websites, Gabon Review, for three months, saying an article had made "malicious insinuations" about the regulator.

The body has issued multiple media suspensions this year for non-compliance with its rules.  

"Media that dare to criticise the president or his relatives face sanctions almost systematically," Reporters Without Borders said in June.