Togo: Three radio stations closed for past three months over red tape

Regulation & Policy

On Monday 21 February 2011, Reporters Without Borders supported 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.

“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.”