July 15, 2024

Press Freedom


Gabon October 11, 2006

H.E. El Hadj Omar Bongo
Office of the President
B.P 546
Fax: (011.241) 332-0668

Your Excellency:

We write to express solidarity with our colleagues at Les Echos du Nord, a privately owned newspaper in Libreville , “suspended” last week by Gabon ‘s National Council of Communications (CNC) for daring to discuss the conflict between Gabon and Equatorial Guinea over the sovereignty of the oil-rich Mbanié islet.

According to reports we have from Journaliste En Danger in Kinshasa , Les Echos du Nord was suspended by the CNC for “malicious insinuations” and “speculation on unverified facts” in an article published on September 25 th — describing your government’s approach to the territorial dispute. In issuing its suspensions, the CNC accused the private weekly of showing “contempt for the image of the nation and its territorial integrity.”

What appears to have enraged the CNC is that the article’s allegation that unnamed members of the media in Gabon have pressured your administration to dismiss members of your government for attempting to sell Mbanié to Equatorial Guinea . As you know, several weeks ago the state-owned daily, L’Union, published accusations that your minister of the Interior, André Mba Obame, has been trying to do exactly that.

It is clear to us that last week’s suspension of Les Echos du Nord is vengeance for the publication of an article displeasing to the powers that be in Gabon . What should be more displeasing, Your Excellency, is the harm such petty tyrannies cause to Gabon ‘s already fragile democratic institutions.

We urge you, Your Excellency, to do all in your power to remedy the injustice done to Les Echos du Nord as swiftly as possible.

Respectfully yours,
Larry Martz
Kevin McDermott
Co-chairmen – Freedom of the Press Committee



Jules Marius Ogouebandja

Ambassador of Gabon to the U.S.A.

Embassy of Gabon

2034 20th Street, NW

Washington , DC 20009

Fax: (202) 332-0668


Ambassador Denis Dangue Rewaka

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of Gabon to the United Nations

18 East 41st Street

New York , NY 10017

Fax: (212) 689-5769


R. Barrie Walkley

U.S. Ambassador to Gabon

Embassy of the United States of America

Boulevard du Bord de Mer

B.P. 4000



Fax: (011.241) 74-55-07


Journaliste En Danger – Afrique Centrale

374, avenue colonel Mondjiba

Complexe Utexafrica-Galerie Saint Pierre


B.P. 633 KIN I


Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Fax: (011.44.207) 504-3544