Print Overview

More than a dozen daily newspapers are published in Abidjan. All of them are written in French.

 

Most newspapers are published five days a week Monday to
Friday. Some titles also appear on Saturday.

 

Most newspapers sell between 2,000 and 10,000 copies per day
to educated and relatively affluent people living in Abidjan – typically civil
servants and office workers.

 

Very few newspapers are distributed and sold in the interior.
Where they do arrive, it is usually in the late afternoon or the following day.

 

Poor distribution means that newspapers do not reach most
large towns in the interior until late afternoon on the day of publication or
the following day.

 

Furthermore, purchasing power in the interior is lower. Most
people who live up country cannot afford to buy a newspaper regularly.

 

However, most Ivorian newspapers have websites. This enables
people with internet access anywhere in the country to read them free of charge
online. Newspaper websites also attract the Ivorian diaspora in Europe and
North America.

 

The government newspaper Fraternite Matin has the largest daily sale.

 

Fraternite Matin sold between 13,000 and 16,000 copies per
day in the first half of 2010, according to calculations made on the basis of
the quarterly sales statistics compiled by the Conseil National de la Presse
(CNP),
(National Press Council)
the government body which regulates the
print media.

 

A survey conducted by the marketing firm Media Data, showed that 27% of all
regular newspaper readers read Fraternite Matin.

 

Many of the newspapers are politically partisan, some
stridently so. Several, such as  Notre Voie (Front Patriotique Ivoirien - FPI), Le Patriote (Rassemblement
Des Republicains - RDR
) and Le
Nouveau Reveil
(Parti Democratique de
Cote d’Ivoire - PDCI
) are the official mouthpieces of Cote d’Ivoire’s main
political parties.

 

As such, they are important tools for mobilising supporters
of the political parties which they represent.

 

These newspapers are mainly purchased by party supporters.

 

The quality of the reporting in Ivorian newspapers leaves
much to be desired. Most do not bother to check facts thoroughly or ensure
balance and fairness.

 

The relatively high cover price of CFA 200 (44 US cents)
means that only affluent Ivorians can afford to buy a daily newspaper on a
regular basis.

 

However, several people usually read each copy purchased.

 

Many news vendors allow customers to “rent” a newspaper for
the reduced price of CFA 50(11 US cents). This practice allows some people to
read a newspaper on the cheap while standing at the stall before returning it to
the vendor.

 

When Cote d’Ivoire relapsed into conflict in December 2010
following the disputed presidential election, most newspapers became much more
stridently partisan.

 

Several papers with close links to the rival armed factions
were accused of actively promoting hatred against different sectors of the
community and inciting violence.

 

Fraternite Matin,
Soir Info
, L’Inter and L’Intelligent d’Abidjan, which are not directly linked to any of the country’s political
factions, were among the few voices
of moderation that remained.

 

Following the military defeat
of former President Laurent Gbagbo by rebel forces backing his elected
successor Alassane Ouattara in April 2011, hate speech has disappeared from the
press and the tone of political rhetoric in the newspapers has become more
muted.

 

The pro-Gbagbo newspapers,
notably Notre Voie and Le Temps, disappeared from the streets
for a few weeks, but resumed
publishing in May 2011.

 

The Gbagbo administration frequently harassed newspaper journalists
and publishers and sought to prevent them from publishing critical or
embarrassing news reports.

 

It used the official regulatory body for the print media,
the Conseil
National de la Presse
(National Press Council) (CNP),
to impose fines and the temporary suspension of
publication on several newspapers that stepped out of line.

 

In March 2011, nine newspapers suspended publication for a
week in protest at threats and harassment against them by officials linked to
the Gbagbo administration.