Radio Tropik FM returned to the air on 15 March after the national broadcasting authority (HAAC) ended the station’s two-week suspension, asking it to avoid the "excesses" that led to its shutdown. The management said it would make changes in the discussion programme concerned, which aired opposition views. Station boss Albert Biki Tchékin said the move was "similar to censorship, but we’re going to see how we can reorganise the show to still allow people to say what they think."
Private radio station closed by presidential order
On 28 February 2003, the Audiovisual and Communications High
Authority (Haute Autorité de l’audiovisuel et de la communication, HAAC)
announced the closure of the private radio station Tropik FM "until further
notice." Reporters Without Borders condemns this unacceptable move and urges the authorities to do
everything within their power to ensure that the station is allowed to
resume broadcasting as soon as possible. The organisation also notes that
Tropik FM is the second private radio station to be closed by the
authorities in the past year. Both stations frequently featured opposition
voices on the air.
Reporters Without Borders recalls that President Gnassingbé Eyadéma is included on the
organisation’s list of international press freedom predators.
President Eyadéma accuses Tropik FM of allowing the opposition to insult the
regime. Station director Albert Biki Tchékin was summoned to the head of
state’s residence on 28 February. The president particularly complained
about the broadcast of a programme called "Civic and Political Forum", which
features political debates and is followed by a live public call-in
programme. Tchékin stated, "Nobody insulted the head of state. When we
invite opposition representatives we also invite people who are close to the
government. People often give an emotional response in the street." He added
that his radio station was even prohibited from broadcasting music.
Reporters Without Borders recalls that the private station Radio Victoire was closed on 7 February
2002. The radio station was accused of
not complying with the HAAC’s formal demand that the station cease
broadcasting several "controversial" programmes that "led their hosts to
make impassioned and defamatory statements that discredit [Togo’s]
constitutional and administrative authorities." One of the programmes had
featured a denunciation of human rights violations in the country.