In 2010, Guinea returned to civilian rule following a military coup in 2008, however, corruption and impunity remain pervasive within the security forces. Human rights defenders are at risk of detention and judicial harassment with journalists in particular being targeted by the authorities. The 2010 constitution protects the freedom of the media but in practice journalists deemed to be criticising the president Alpha Condé have been subjected to charges of defamation and “insulting the Head of State”. Due to the high illiteracy rate in the country, many Guineans access news through private radio stations which have been subjected to suspension notices when judged critical of the government.
The Criminal Code which was revised and adopted on 4 July 2016, criminalises torture but retains oppressive provisions criminalising contempt, defamation and insult, including of public figures, with penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine. The provisions remain vague and unclear, giving authorities wide discretion with regard to the prosecution of people who express dissenting opinions or views, or expose human rights violations, such as human rights defenders.