JUNE 28, 2004
Posted: July 29, 2004
Madagascar's Communications Ministry issued a written order to close Radio Say, a privately run radio station based in the southern coastal town of Tulear. The order accused the station of broadcasting false news and insulting heads of national institutions, among other allegations, according to local sources.
The station is owned by a former minister who served in the government of Madagascar's former President Didier Ratsiraka, who was succeeded by current President Marc Ravalomanana in 2002 after a bitter political struggle. While it is unclear if a particular broadcast sparked the closure, Radio Say often criticized Ravalomanana's administration and policies, according to local sources.
The order to close Radio Say came during a government investigation of a grenade explosion in Tulear on June 25, one of three such attacks in three separate towns during Madagascar's national holiday festivities. More than 30 people were killed in the bombings. On CPJ source said that the station's closure may have stemmed from Radio Say's coverage of the Tulear explosion and its aftermath, during which the station exaggerated the damage caused by the explosions and attacked the government for causing instability in the country.
DECEMBER 10, 2004
Posted: January 18, 2005
Radio Ny Antsika (RNA)
Radio Feon'i Toamasina (RFT)
The government ordered the closing of Radio Ny Antsika (RNA), Sky FM, and Radio Feon'i Toamasina (RFT), three private radio stations based in the eastern port city of Toamasina, after they broadcast interviews with opposition members, according to local sources. Local authorities also confiscated transmitters belonging to RNA and RFT. The national daily Midi Madagasikara reported that the opposition members called on residents to attend a political demonstration in Toamasina, which was later broken up by government security forces.
The Communications Ministry accused the radio stations of operating without licenses and of broadcasting "tribalist" speech, which is an offense under Madagascar's press law, according to local sources. The Association of Private Radio Journalists (AJRP) protested the closure orders and stated that the programs had not incited tribalism.