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Media regulatory body lifts ban on phone-ins

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 23 April 2009, the High Authority for Audiovisual Broadcasting and Communication (HAAC), Togo's media regulatory body, lifted a ban it imposed on the country's electronic media preventing them from allowing telephone calls into station programmes.

The ban was lifted after a meeting of the Minister of Communication and Culture, Oulegoh Keyewa, the HAAC and media organisations.

Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the suspension occurred on 17 April in the wake of an alleged coup plot involving Kpatcha Gnassingbe, a former defence minister and brother of the country's president.

The correspondent said the HAAC claimed during the ban that allowing public commentary on the alleged coup plot, through phone-ins in the electronic media, would prejudice the case.

In a press statement, media organisations accused the HAAC of arbitrariness and said that the decision violated the right of the people to access information.

"This decision by HAAC was a serious attack on the practice of the profession and a flagrant violation of Article 3 of the Press and Communication Law which states that: 'the Togolese state guarantees to everyone living in the country the right to be informed, to inform and to have access to sources of information and to means of information in conformity with the laws on communication'."

Updates alert on the phone-in ban: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/102559

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