May 3rd: World Press Day – Norbert Zongo

Norbert Zongo
Norbert Zongo

May 3rd marks the World Press Freedom Day, or simply World Press Day.  This day is to raise awareness of the importance of the freedom of the press and remind governments across the world to respect the right to freedom of expression.  Today I would like to commemorate the life of an African journalist hailing from Burkina Faso, Norbert Zongo, who just like the great Cameroonian journalist Pius Njawe, stood for justice and fought injustice.

Norbert Zongo was the publisher and editor of Burkina Faso newspaper L’Independant.  On 13 December 1998, Norbert Zongo was assassinated after his newspaper investigated the murder of a driver (David Ouédraogo) who had worked for the brother of the president Blaise Compaoré, François Compaoré.  Zongo’s burned body was found along with the bodies of three other people: his brother Ernest Zongo, his chauffeur Ablasse Nikiema, and Blaise Ilboudo, in a vehicle near Sapouy, 100 km from the capital Ouagadougou.  An investigation showed that Zongo was killed for political reasons.  His murder rocked Burkina Faso, and manifestations arose within the country, and neighboring countries.  The most violent manifestations took place in the city of Koudougou, Zongo’s birthplace, and government supporters organized a militia armed with clubs engaged to hunt protesters in many cities of the country.

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso

Bowing to popular discontent, President Blaise Compaoré, had to open a judicial investigation where his brother was charged for murder and harboring the body of the victim in connection with the death of David Ouédraogo who died of torture.  The charges were later dropped by a military tribunal.  In August 2000, five members of the presidential guard were charged for the murder of Ouédraogo, were convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, but all were later freed.  In seven years of trial, one suspect, a member of the presidential guard was charged, but the accusing witness later recanted.  The Zongo trial ended in July of 2006 with a non-place which caused an international outcry.

Norbert Zongo is also the writer of the book, The Parachute Drop (Le Parachutage), which was translated to English and published in 2004.  Many of his articles can be found in the review Mobutuization of Burkina Faso.

Today, Norbert Zongo is celebrated as a martyr, one who stood for truth, in a country where not many dared to talk.  This is why he should be the man of the day, for a day like World Press Day: He dared to talk, he expressed the truth to enlighten others, and sought justice for another man.  In 2003, a documentary was made to talk about his murder: Borry Bana, the fatal destiny of Norbert Zongo.  In 2012, a memorial was erected at the Highway N6 (Ouagadougou – Léo) near Sapouy, exactly where Zongo was murdered.  Please watch this video of Norbert Zongo talking to African youths.  His message is that of maintaining intrinsic values of principle, of growth, of conscience.

May 3rd: World Press Freedom Day

World press freedom day
World press freedom day

Today being the World press freedom day, I thought about the freedom of Press in Côte d’Ivoire which is being muzzled by the ADO-rebellion, and the series of media-lies I have heard from the big Western media. I chose to share with you, the different blogs, and newspapers, which present the other side of the story… the side of the people of Côte d’Ivoire who are currently being oppressed, traumatized, raped, attacked, and whose country is being invaded by external forces, and rebels. If you know of other good ones, please let me know.

Aujourd’hui étant la journée de la liberté de presse, j’ai pensé à la liberté de la presse en Côte d’Ivoire qui est muselée par le pouvoir ADO, et toute la série de média-mensonges que j’ai suivi sur les grandes chaînes occidentales.  J’ai donc choisi de partager avec vous les différents blogs, et journaux, qui présentent l’autre côté de l’histoire… celle du peuple ivoirien qui est en ce moment opprimé, traumatisé, violé, attaqué et dont le pays est envahi par des forces étrangères et des rebelles. Si vous connaissez d’autres sites importants, partagez…

La revue de presse Cote d’Ivoire Gbagbo

Le blog de Theophile Kouamouo

Crise Ivoirienne, ou comment l’ONU prend la democratie en otage


Le Quotidien du Gri-Gri international

Ivoire Business

Directscoop, Presse Africaine

Continue reading “May 3rd: World Press Freedom Day”