The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the High Authority of Audio-visual and Communication (HAAC), the official regulatory body of the media in Togo, to lift the suspension of interactive emissions on radio and television stations in Togo.
“This decision is unacceptable and represents an attempt to prevent the local press from reporting on recent allegations of a “coup d’état” declared Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa Office. “This is a grave violation on the freedom of expression”.
On Friday April 17 2009, the HAAC announced its decision to suspend, until further notice, all interactive emissions on the radio and television stations.
On April 13, the Togolese army launched an attack on the residence of Mr. Kpatcha Gnassingbé, former Minister of Defense and half-brother of the Head of State, Faure Gnassingbé. M. Kpatcha was arrested on April 15 in Lome and accused of “plotting” and “attempting” to over throw the government.
In a short televised speech, President Faure Gnassingbé denounced the attempted “coup d’etat”.
The Union of Independent Journalists of Togo (UJIT), the Togolese Observatory of Media (OTM) and the National Council of Press Editors of Togo (CONAPP) in an official statement denounced the suspension of the interactive emissions which constitutes a flagrant violation of the Constitution and the Press Code, according to the statement.
The IFJ calls on the authorities in Togo and the HAAC to end with immediate effect and unconditionally the suspension of broadcast emissions in the country and to restore the right to freedom of expression and press freedom.
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The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide