The High Authority for Audiovisual and Communication (HAAC) suspended two newspapers for three months of publication from this Thursday, February 2, 2023. A decision opposed by all the directors of publications.
The newspaper “Liberté” was prosecuted following a complaint by the head of the Togolese government for defamation.
The court sanctioned the newspaper to a three-month suspension and a fine of 15 million CFA francs. However, this suspension would be illegal, according to the press code. But the Court of Appeal endorsed the decision and the press boss appealed to the Court of Cassation to denounce the suspension.
“Our perspective now is to go to the administrative chamber of the Supreme Court so that the decision of the HAAC is reported”, said Médard Amétépé, the director of publication.
Tampa Express, a fortnightly, was also suspended following a defamation complaint by the CEO of the Bolloré group in Lomé.
According to Francisco Napo-Koura, its publication director, the HAAC has exaggerated too much: “It would have taken at least a formal notice, a warning before going to a sanction of perhaps a month”.
For Badjibassa Babaka, former journalist and rapporteur for the HAAC, it is within the prerogatives of the regulatory body. “The first is only a decision of application, of execution of a judgment of the Court of Appeal. For Tampa Express, the body considered that there are cases of recidivism and therefore decided to impose a sanction.
In Togo, press bosses are flabbergasted. They believe that these excessive sanctions from Haac aim to muzzle the entire profession.
Source : icilome.com