Equatorial Guinea frees journalists held after judge interview

(iStock)
(iStock)

Two journalists held by police after they interviewed a suspended judge in Equatorial Guinea have been released without charge, one of them said on Monday.

Equatorial Guinea has one of the world's worst records for media rights, ranking 165th out of 180 on the 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Melanio Nkogo and Ruben Dario Bacale, who work at the oil-rich nation's only privately-owned TV station Asonga, spent 12 days in detention after broadcasting an interview with a judge, Nazario Oyono.

Oyono was suspended last month by the Supreme Court's President, David Nguema Obiang, amid a dispute between the pair who accuse each other of preventing an embezzlement trial.

Nkogo said he believes that he and his colleague were held in a bid to "intimidate" them.

"We are free and will continue to work as journalists to provide objective information," he told AFP.

Media watchdog RSF said the case "shows the extreme vulnerability of journalists" working in the country.

Nkogo said he believes the country's president and vice-president intervened in order to secure his release.

Asonga's owner is the son of Equatorial Guinea's iron-fisted President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has ruled for 40 years.

It is widely believed that the son, Teodorin Nguema Obiang, is being groomed for his succession.

Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
South Africa has over 150 000 Covid-19 cases. Do you know someone who has been infected?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes I do
27% - 3325 votes
Yes, more than one person
25% - 3035 votes
No I don't
48% - 5967 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
17.00
(-0.36)
ZAR/GBP
21.21
(-0.30)
ZAR/EUR
19.12
(-0.30)
ZAR/AUD
11.81
(-0.62)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-0.21)
Gold
1774.43
(-0.02)
Silver
18.05
(+0.69)
Platinum
807.99
(+0.12)
Brent Crude
42.92
(+2.64)
Palladium
1914.00
(+1.46)
All Share
54521.90
(-0.17)
Top 40
50179.89
(-0.26)
Financial 15
10150.02
(-0.64)
Industrial 25
76554.73
(+0.52)
Resource 10
50138.02
(-1.24)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo