In Ivory Coast, a new law could imprison journalists for 5 years!

In Ivory Coast, a new law could imprison journalists for 5 years!
In Ivory Coast, a new law could imprison journalists for 5 years!

Ivory Coast is currently at the heart of a crucial parliamentary discussion concerning the regulation of electronic communications. This debate, brought to the Senate on May 7, 2024, follows a first reading in the National Assembly. The bill, promoted by the Minister of Digital Transition and Digitization, Ibrahim Kalil Konate, raises both hopes and concerns.

The text proposes strict measures against the interception, disclosure, publication or unauthorized use of electronic communications, with penalties of up to five years in prison and fines of 10 million CFA francs. If on the one hand these provisions aim to strengthen the confidentiality and security of digital exchanges, they also give rise to criticism, in particular from the National Organization of Investigative Journalists of Côte d’Ivoire (ONJI-CI). The latter expresses serious concerns about the potential impact of the law on press freedom, journalistic independence and the protection of sources.

Beyond the protection of privacy, the bill aims to revitalize the telecommunications sector by promoting healthy competition and better market regulation. This initiative is seen as a necessary step to adapt the Ivorian legislative framework to technological developments and international standards in electronic communications.

The law also plans to establish a more favorable environment for consumers, by improving transparency and offering guarantees against possible abuse by operators. This part of the text was developed in consultation with the various players in the sector, including the ministries concerned, private companies and civil society.

However, the approach adopted by the government is sparking a lively debate on the balance between security and freedom, a major issue in the current digital context. The next discussions in the Senate will therefore be decisive in determining the final form of the law and its impact on Ivorian society.

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