Monday, February 04, 2008

RFI taken off the air in Ivory Coast (Cote-d'Ivoire)

Abidjan, 1 February 2008: The Ivorian media regulatory body has suspended the broadcasting of Radio France Internationale programmes “across the whole of the country”, “until further notice”, because of the lack of a radio correspondent in the country.“RFI programmes broadcast on FM and by satellite have been suspended as of midnight on 31 January,” says a statement issued by the Ivorian National Audiovisual Communications Council (CNCA), sent to AFP.

The statement, signed by the CNCA chairman, Jerome Diegou Bailly, notes that on RFI’s part there is “a clear determination not to meet either its written pledges or to keep its word”.“RFI put a request to the CNCA and gained approval for a correspondent to be put in place in Abidjan by 31 December, a pledge confirmed to Abidjan on 23 November by Ms Dominique Burg, the network director,” continues the statement, emphasizing that the radio had been given a “further extension until 31 January”.On 18 April 2007, the CNCA had already threatened to suspend RFI programmes until mid-May if the radio failed to keep a correspondent in the country. On 12 May 2006, the CNCA gave permission for RFI programmes to resume broadcasting in Cote d’Ivoire after a gap of almost 10 months, notably for “unprofessional treatment of news”, due partly to the “lack of a correspondent” in the country.

This authorization was given “after several meetings between the two parties, who decided to settle the dispute amicably”.The radio had closed its regional office in Abidjan following the death of its correspondent, Jean Helene, shot in the head and killed by a police officer in Abidjan on 20 October 2003.RFI FM broadcasts in Cote d’Ivoire have been suspended several times since the attempted coup d’etat of September 2002 by rebels of the New Forces against President Laurent Gbagbo.(Source: AFP news agency, Paris, in French 1629 gmt 1 Feb 08 via BBC Monitoring/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)

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