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Togo25 February 2005

Last three radio stations back on the air

A lower court in Lomé yesterday withdrew an order that kept two radio stations off the air for the past two weeks. Radio Nana FM manager Peter Dogbé and Radio Kanal FM manager Modeste Mesavusu-Ekué said their stations were able to resume broadcasting yesterday morning. The only other radio station still closed, Radio Lumière in the town of Aného (east of Lomé), was able to go back on the air yesterday afternoon. But it had to use rented equipment because its own equipment, which had been confiscated, was returned in very bad condition, manager Kossigan Zinsou said.

21 February 2005 - Authorities let seven broadcast media go back on the air, but others still closed

Reporters Without Borders said today it noted that seven broadcast media have been allowed back on the air in the past four days but it called on the Togolese authorities to permit all the closed news media to resume operating.

After being closed for more than a week, Radio Fréquence 1, Radio Carré Jeune, Radio Djabal’nour and Radio Zion, and the privately-owned TV stations TV7 and Zion were allowed to resume broadcasting on 18 February, while Radio Nostalgie was allowed to go back on the air today.

"We request the reopening of all the Togolese media, and we will closely monitor relations between the government, the High Council for Broadcasting and Communication (HAAC) and journalists," Reporters Without Borders said.

In the course of nine days starting on 7 February, the authorities ordered the closure of a total of ten radio and TV stations, citing "tax reasons" or accusing them of "inciting civil disobedience and revolt."

Jacques Djakouti, the president of the Union of Free Radio and TV Stations of Togo (URATEL), told Reporters Without Borders that negotiations with the HAAC and the communication minister concluded late Friday and that, according to the minister, President Faure Gnassingbé had agreed to let the radio stations go back on the air.

URATEL said three other privately-owned radio stations, Radio Nana FM, Radio Kanal FM and Radio Lumière, should be able to resume broadcasting today or tomorrow subject to their withdrawing the complaint they brought against the HAAC for suspending them for "inciting hate and revolt" under a new press code which they say has not yet been promulgated.

Radio Nana FM programme director Faustin Woussou said a bailiff had removed the seals placed by the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ART&P) for non-payment of taxes and licence fees.

In this country
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Thugs beat up opposition weekly editor on Lomé street
25 April - Togo
Le Figaro correspondent turned back on arrival two days before election
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Alarm about coverage bans, bias and verbal violence in run-up to elections
30 March - Togo
State TV crew physically attacked during opposition demonstration
16 February - Togo
Authorities could close as many as 60 radio and TV stations in ongoing crackdown

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