Reporters Without Borders is astonished to learn that Carré Jeune, a community radio station offering entertainment programmes, has been closed on the orders of the Telecommunications and Post Regulation Agency (ART&P). It is the fourth radio station to be closed by the agency in as many months.
“This is unjust and against the law,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We fail to understand how what is granted by one agency is taken away by another. The ART&P is exceeding its powers. Only the High Authority for Broadcasting and Communication (HAAC) can close down a radio station and it needs to get the go-ahead from a court first.”
After visiting Carré Jeune, the ART&P ordered its closure yesterday on the grounds of “non-respect for professional standards.” But the HAAC had given station until June to comply with the required standards.
21-02-2011- Three radio stations closed for past three months over red tape
Reporters Without Borders supports the campaign launched today by the National Press Owners Committee (CONAPP), the Togo Union of Independent Journalists (UJIT) and the Togolese Media Monitoring Centre (OTM) to draw attention to the plight of three privately-owned radio stations which the government closed three months ago.
The three stations – Providence, Métropolys and X-Solaire – were closed by the Posts and Telecommunications Regulation Agency on 30 November of the grounds that their papers were not in order. They have since tried to obtain the required documents from the territorial administration ministry but without success. As result, they have been unable to resume broadcasting.
Spots prepared by the CONAPP, UJIT and OTM that denounce this situation began being broadcast on all other radio stations today. The campaign will be stepped up next week with “Togo without media” days of action, sit-ins outside government agencies and protest marches in various cities.
In support of the campaign, Reporters Without Borders wrote to territorial administration minister Pascal Bodjona today asking him to explain the slowness of the administrative procedures that have kept the three radio stations closed for the past three months. Pascal Bodjona (photo AFP)
“Considerations of a political nature should not give rise to conflicts of interest between Togo’s governing class and media,” the letter said. “On the contrary, the role of the authorities is to preserve freedom of expression and to guarantee the constitution.”