Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Cote D'ivoire: Three foreign media disappear from Abidjan airwaves

Source: International Freedom of Expression Exchange

7 March 2011 (MFWA/IFEX)
- One foreign TV station and two radio stations operating in Cote d'Ivoire have disappeared from the airwaves. The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the French television station France 24 and the two radio stations BBC and RFI went off air on 3 and 2 March 2011, respectively.

The correspondent said that there has not been any explanation from the Laurent Gbagbo-controlled National Council for Broadcasting (CNCA), the regulatory body responsible for the broadcast media in the country, and it is also not clear whether the disappearance of the two stations has something to do with the CNCA's directive on 2 December 2010 which sought to ban all foreign radio and TV channels operating in the country.

International media organisations covering Cote d'Ivoire have been consistently accused by Gbagbo's government of supporting Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised President of the country.

The correspondent said the disappearance of the two channels would deny Ivoirians access to news other than the one-sided news of state-owned Ivorian Broadcasting Corporation (RTI).

At the moment, all pro-Ouattara newspapers have ceased publication to protest what they described as harassment and intimidation by pro-Gbagbo forces. This follows the suspension and imposition of fines last week by the Gbagbo-controlled authorities. Two pro-Ouattara journalists are currently being held at the civil prison in Abidjan over alleged terrorist activities.