Questions about Gabon President Bongo’s health leads to threat of media crackdown

Regulation & Policy

No President is ever immortal but any discussion about their failing mortality makes them very nervous. Two newspapers were suspended by the Conseil National de la Communication (CNC) for discussing who might be Omar Bongo's successor. Last Saturday it suspended publication of two privately-owned newspapers, Ngange (for one month) and Ezombolo (for six months).

But in addition to trying to leash the local press, it also turned on international broadcasters, making threats against them. It accused Canal Overseas and Radio France Internationale (RFI) of putting disorder into the minds of Gabonese by even raising the subject. CNC condemned Canal Overseas and not abiding by the clauses signed with the Government in its licence agreement, which guarantee the respect of public order, the country's safety, national unity, morality and dignities of the citizens. Since all of us must one day die, it seems silly to try and prevent discussion of this immovable fact.