Cote d’Ivoire: Government Bans Radio Station

Regulation & Policy

The government of Côte d'Ivoire has indefinitely suspended a France-based radio station, report the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

In an interview with CPJ, Fank Kouassi, the secretary-general of the country's National Broadcasting Council, accused Radio France Internationale (RFI) of failing to appoint a permanent correspondent by 31 January, a deadline set by the council in December. He also accused the station of unethical coverage, citing "several cases of unbalanced information and analysis often out of touch with reality."

RFI's news director, Geneviève Goetzinger, says the delay in finding someone is due to safety issues. RFI's office in Abidjan has been closed since its correspondent, Jean Hélène, was shot and killed by a policeman in October 2003.

The government and its supporters have often accused RFI, funded by the French government, of biased coverage during periods of heightened political tensions. Presidential elections are scheduled for June.

Relations between Côte d'Ivoire, a former French colony, and France remain tense, notably over the unsolved disappearance of Franco-Canadian journalist Guy-André Kieffer, who has been missing since 2004.

(Committee to Protect Journalists (New York), 12 February 2008)