Reporters Without Borders has established that since 24 December, La Première, the leading TV channel of Côte d’Ivoire’s state-owned broadcaster Radio-Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI), has not been available in France or in neighbouring African countries, where it is normally carried by the Canal + Horizon satellite service.
It would seem this is because its signal has been suspended or is being jammed. RTI is usually transmitted by Intelsat 903 (a satellite operated by the US company Intelsat) and is retransmitted in Côte d’Ivoire’s provinces, other African countries and Europe. Over-the-air transmission in Abidjan continues to operate normally.
La Première director-general Félicien Koffi told Reporters Without Borders: “Our status with Intelsat is fine. That is not the problem. We don’t know who is behind this but if it is an attempt to isolate us, we can only deplore it.”
Although concerned that RTI began several weeks ago to behave like one faction’s propaganda tool rather than a public service media, Reporters Without Borders believes that jamming or any action designed to prevent a news media’s dissemination is never an appropriate response and regards it as a violation of media freedom.