Basic Data


Official Country Name: Republic of Guinea
Region (Map name): Africa
Population: 7,466,200
Language(s): French
Literacy rate: 35.9%

Background & General Characteristics

The government essentially runs the news media in the Republic of Guinea (Républic de Guinée), a coastal West African country where the United Nations projects a 2002 population of 7,860,000, including refugees who fled in 2001 from Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Patterns of language and literacy, population distribution, and historical modes of government have all combined against the presence of a strong press. The predominantly Muslim population, about twenty-nine percent urban, inhabits a diverse terrain. A history of colonialism followed by Marxism underlies the weak but improving economy, which is heavily agricultural. The official language is French, but natives also use tribal languages including Malinké (Mandingo). Only some thirty-six percent of Guineans are literate. Conakry, Guinea's coastal capital and communications center, has a population approaching 2,000,000.

Though the Constitution of 1991 is in force, government censorship applies, and critics charge that presidential and parliamentary elections in the 1990s were not open.

Media Activity

The daily newspaper, Fonike , which had a circulation in the twenty thousands in the late 1990s, is state-owned. Horoya (Liberty) is published in French and the local languages. Journal Officiel de Guinée is a fortnightly government organ. A federation of Guinean workers has published Le Travailleur de Guinée, a monthly. L'Indépendant is an independent weekly.

The official news agency since 1986 has been the Agence Guinéenne de Presse (AGP), an offshoot of the UNESCO-supported West African News Agencies Development (WANAD) project. Xinhua , APN, and TASS have representations in Conakry.

The state-controlled Radiodiffusion Télévision Guinéenne broadcasts over eight radio stations in French, English, Portuguese, Arabic, and native dialects; in 1998 citizens owned about 390,000 radios. Interactive instruction by radio has been tried in Guinean classrooms.

State television broadcasts, which started in 1977, were reaching about 87,000 TV sets in the late 1990s. Six TV stations operated in 1997. The Société des Télécommunications de Guinée is forty percent state-owned.

Computer use is growing. In 1995, Guineans owned an estimated one hundred personal computers, but by the year 2000, Internet users numbered about five thousand. In mid-2002 the university at Kankan, isolated in the interior, was getting its own campus computer system and high-speed Internet connection.

Significant Dates

  • 1977: State-sponsored television broadcasts begin.
  • 2002: A college in the interior is wired for the Internet.


The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). World Factbook 2002 . Directorate of Intelligence, 7 May 2002. Available from .

Banks, Arthur S. and Thomas C. Muller, eds. Political Handbook of the World, 1999. Binghamton, NY: CSA Publications, 1999.

Turner, Barry, ed. The Statesman's Yearbook: The Politics, Cultures, and Economies of the World, 2000 . 136th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.

USAID , 7 May 2002. Available from .

World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2002 . New York: World Almanac Books, 2002.

Roy Neil Graves

Also read article about Guinea from Wikipedia

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