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More than 80 broadcasters closed on orders given by authorities

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF condemns the closure of approximately 80 broadcasters, mostly radio stations, following orders of the High Authority for Transition. Under the guise of a so-called "consolidation of the broadcast landscape," the government is censoring a multitude of small private stations, all created since 2009.

RSF condemns the closures, which by their magnitude clearly serve as a warning to independent media outlets and to those that are critical of the current regime. RSF demands the immediate reinstatement of the banned stations.

These closures, which occurred throughout the months of September and early October 2010, followed a letter from the Special Commission of Broadcasting Communication (Commission spéciale à la communication audiovisuelle, CSCA), the body regulating broadcast media under the authority of the Communications Ministry. Dated 26 August 2010, the letter is signed by the prime minister, who also oversees the Ministry of Telecommunications, Mail Services and New Technologies, as well as by the communications minister.

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As we approach the 17 November referendum, RSF condemns these acts of censorship. In another incident in early October, ministry officials, accompanied by armed security forces, tried to raid the headquarters of Radio Fototra to immediately halt its programming. Unable to get inside the station's premises, they returned the next morning. Such intimidation is unacceptable, RSF said.

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