Reporters Without Borders today welcomed the resumption of FM broadcasts by Radio France Internationale (RFI) in Nouakchott after a ban imposed in October 2000 was lifted. The authorities gave the go-ahead at the end of a visit to Nouakchott by RFI’s deputy director for international relations, Jean-Marc Belchi.
Mauritania’s military leader, Col. Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, had told Reporters Without Borders during a meeting in October that he would lift the five-year-old ban, promising a return to “the situation that existed when broadcasts were suspended.”
Talks are also under way with Mauritania’s national radio station about the construction of a radio mast that would enable RFI to extend the area covered by its FM broadcast to include the western city of Nouadhibou. Retransmission of the broadcasts of RMC Moyen-Orient, an RFI offshoot, is also planned.
27.10.2005 New military leader promises to amend press law and let RFI resume FM broadcasts
At a meeting Tuesday with Mauritania’s new military leader, a Reporters Without Borders delegation was assured that the new government will promote democratic press reforms during the current transition. It was also told that the French public radio station, Radio France Internationale (RFI), will soon be able to resume its FM broadcasts in Mauritania.
At a meeting Tuesday with Mauritania’s new military leader, Col. Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, a Reporters Without Borders delegation was assured that the new government will promote democratic press reforms during the current transition. It was also told that the French public radio station, Radio France Internationale (RFI), will soon be able to resume its FM broadcasts in Mauritania.
Col. Vall, who heads the Military Council for Justice and Democracy, gave three main undertakings:
To set up a “national commission” very soon to propose press sector reforms and amendments to legislation governing the practice of journalism. Col. Vall said instructions had already been given to the prime minister and communication minister for proposals to be made “in the coming week” on the commission’s composition in accordance with the independent press.
To tone down implementation of the existing press law until the new legislation has been adopted. Col. Vall said instructions had been issued that the time between submission to the interior ministry of an application to publish a newspaper and the issuing of a receipt giving permission “should be as short as possible.” He also told Reporters Without Borders that article 11 of the press law was “no longer important” and that he had given “instructions for this article to no longer have effect.”
To immediately reestablish RFI’s broadcasting on the FM waveband in Nouakchott. Col. Vall said he had given orders for this to be done at once and for a “return to the situation that existed when it was suspended.” He added that “possible changes in the accords with RFI would be considered later.”
Reporters Without Borders has registered a total of 101 cases of government censorship of the independent press under article 11 of the existing press law ever since it was adopted in July 1991. Mauritanie Nouvelles, a newspaper that no longer exists, was for example censored 16 times. The weekly Le Calame has been censored 14 times. Reporters Without Borders has issued nearly 80 releases on press freedom violations in Mauritania since 1991.