GLOBAL JOURNALIST: Challenges ahead for Ivory Coast's new leadership

Friday, April 22, 2011 | 1:24 p.m. CDT; updated 6:40 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 26, 2011

After a crisis that left hundreds dead and thousands displaced, Ivory Coast is beginning to look to the future. Last week former President Laurent Gbagbo was ousted from power, after France and the United Nations intervened in the conflict.

While the most tumultuous fighting is in the past, the country remains divided. President Alassane Ouattara has taken control of the country as the recognized president, but winning the hearts of the people will be a challenge for him.

For the citizens of the Ivory Coast, daily life became deadly as the economy came to a halt during the bloodshed. This week, reports of returning to some normalcy are percolating through the media after the climax of the power struggle. Although the chief export, the cocoa bean, can resume shipment, the economic crisis coupled with the fact that more than 46 percent of the nation voted for Gbagbo point to the difficulties that lie ahead for the new leadership.

Some Ivorians are are still weary of Ouattara, as there are reports of those defecting from the former Gbagbo camp and joining the new administration. While Ouattara called for human rights investigations, skeptics say both sides are guilty of human rights violations. The questions are, who will prosecute whom and how?

For journalists, covering the event was complicated and dangerous. Gbagbo censored outside reports, especially those of the international press. Foreign journalists found themselves as targets of the fighting, as some were beaten and others killed.

Many questions will remain in the weeks and months ahead as an already crippled country tries to mend itself. After blood was spilled on both sides of the political isle, there are major concerns about how the civil war will shape the country's future.

Watch Global Journalist’s Turmoil in the Ivory Coast and catch an extended interview with France 24 Africa correspondent Nicolas Germain.

Highlights from this week's guests:

Abidjan, Ivory Coast: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, reporter and broadcaster for NPR News

"Many journalists were evacuated by military forces. Many Ivorians don't have that option. They have to stay barricaded in their homes, trapped in their homes by heavy weapons fire ringing in their ears. Children are petrified and terrorized, and they will be for a long time because of post-traumatic stress disorder that kicks in a little later. Things are calmer now, but for weeks it was difficult for anyone in Abidjan, for journalists and nonjournalists in the city, because of the fierce, fierce fighting."

Johannesburg: David Smith, Africa correspondent for the Guardian

"More recently, it still looks very dead. Journalists who have been there longer than me said with every passing day, things gradually come back to life more and more. I did notice a few days after the fall of Gbagbo, some street markets were open again, and there were some very long queues at the laundry that had reopened. Those are just a few instances of optimism. With President's Ouattara's call for civil servants to return to work on Monday, not many of them did. Until security is in place, that will remain a big problem."

New York: Mohamed Keita, advocacy coordinator for CPJ's Africa Program

"The media was something both camps attempted to seize control of… When the crisis began, the first thing that the Gbagboan administration did was to censor international news media, especially French news channels that were reporting on the results announced by the electoral commission. Then we saw a reprisal by both camps targeting journalists from rival outlets. We've had unfortunate casualties in the media, as journalists were killed during the course of this violence."

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