APRIL 20, 2005
Posted: May 3, 2005
The High Audiovisual and Communications Authority (HAAC) suspended Kanal FM, an.independent radio station in the capital, Lomé, for one month because of an April 18 editorial titled “Autopsy of an Electoral Campaign.” The editorial accused members of the ruling party of committing widespread human rights abuses; alleged that the HAAC had become a tool of the ruling party; and denounced the HAAC’s campaign coverage ban, according to a source at the radio station.
The HAAC had banned independent broadcasters from covering the presidential campaign. The ban, issued on April 15, stated that private broadcasters may neither cover candidates’ campaigns nor “organize special programs or on-air debates featuring candidates or their representatives.”
According to a copy of the suspension order obtained by CPJ, the HAAC accused Kanal FM’s editorial of being “tendentious, defamatory and insulting” and chastised the radio station for “not observing warnings” and lacking “professional journalistic ethics.”
Modeste Messavussu Akué, Kanal FM’s director, told CPJ he was not aware of the editorial until after it aired, and that he had apologized for the journalist’s accusations on-air on Wednesday.