In a letter to Emmanuel Bealoum Touadé, president of the High
Council of Communications (Haut conseil de la communication, HCC), RSF
protested the community radio station FM Liberté’s three-week suspension.
"The authorities are blaming the radio station for a demonstration that took
place, yet the station was only doing its job and had no reason not to
report this information," explained RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard. RSF
asked that the station’s suspension be lifted immediately.
According to information collected by RSF, the HCC suspended the private
radio station FM Liberté from 11 February to 4 March 2002. According to the
broadcasting authority, the station violated Article 14 of the schedule of
conditions governing the operation of private community radio stations. This
article bans the broadcast of "information likely to disrupt public order".
FM Liberté reported on a demonstration in Cameroon by Université de
Ngaoundéré (north of Yaoundé) students, during which Chad nationals were
arrested by soldiers and roughed up by Cameroonians. The news angered
students at the Félix Eboué Secondary School in N’Djamena, who protested
against the presence of Cameroonian nationals in Chad on 4 February. Several
persons were injured during the demonstration.
RSF recalls that the HCC previously threatened to close FM Liberté on 8 May
2001, during the last presidential election campaign. The radio station had
protested the broadcasting authority’s decision barring "all political
debate or debate of a political nature...on the airwaves of private,
associative or community radio stations during the entire 2001 presidential
election campaign period". The radio station’s management finally reached an
agreement with the HCC. FM Liberté was allowed to cover the campaign, except
on its programme "Le club de la presse".