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Authorities shut down three radio stations

(MFWA/IFEX) - On December 29, 2010 Togolese authorities closed down three privately-owned radio stations in the capital, Lomé, citing administrative reasons.

A statement issued by the Post and Telecommunications' Regulatory Authority (ART&P – the regulatory body) and signed by Palouki Massina, its director general, said the decision was taken after the ART&P undertook a 10-day joint review of the stations, together with the High Authority for Broadcasting and Communication (HAAC), in November 2010.

The statement said the stations, X-Solaire, Metropolys and Providence, were operating illegally as they did not have the required registration documents and standard broadcasting equipment.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent in Togo reports, however, that since the closure, officials at the stations have been met with delay tactics from authorities in their efforts to obtain the required documents.

Meanwhile, the media group SOS Journaliste en Danger has condemned the action of the authorities. In a release issued on January 12, the group said it was an attempt by the authorities to muzzle the stations, which were deemed critical of the administration of President Faure Gnassingbé.

The media group wondered why in spite of the stations' status, the ART&P was collecting licensing fees from them.

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