I know journalists from an opposition newspaper who work from home because they are pressured and fear being attacked. At the end of the day, they send their article to an editor who works in a small studio that is situated away from the newspaper headquarters, where some of the journalists get together to put together the layout. And when it comes to selling advertisements in the newspaper, meetings are always set up in a neutral location.
I will nonetheless note that the situation for journalists has improved since the end of the crisis. The “black list” period
, in which those who were too much in favor of one party or another were targeted, is now behind us. Journalists from both sides are present during government press conferences, and when they take the floor, there is far less tension than a year ago.
However, the front pages of newspapers remain quite virulent, whether they are associated with the president or the opposition. We saw this recently after the army and the ruling party’s headquarters were attacked. With each new attack, the newspapers accuse and insult each other, even though the actual perpetrators remain unknown. This of course impacts public opinion: there are readers who believe everything printed by the newspaper they are used to buying. So long as journalists behave like politicians by taking sides, the print media cannot play a positive role in the national reconciliation process. Sundays, the only day when no newspapers come out, will continue to be the only peaceful day in Ivory Coast.