State broadcaster back on the air, but presenter still detained

first_img Follow the news on Côte d’Ivoire August 10, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 State broadcaster back on the air, but presenter still detained Côte d’IvoireAfrica The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa Organisation Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for the release of Hermann Aboa, a programme host on the leading state-owned Radio-Télévision Ivoirienne channel, RTI 1, who is still in pre-trial detention in the Agban gendarmerie barracks in the Abidjan neighbourhood of Adjamé-Williamsville.A former host of the discussion programme “Reasons of State” on La Première (now renamed RTI 1), Aboa is facing a possible life sentence on various charges that were brought against him on 21 July.“Aboa should be freed at once,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Everything indicates that the authorities are prosecuting him in connection with his journalistic activities. But the media law now in effect in Côte d’Ivoire decriminalizes media offences so his detention violates the law. This intolerable situation has continued for too long.”The RTI resumes broadcasting after a four-month break.Reporters Without Borders added: “Now that RTI is back on the air, we urge the authorities, especially the High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HACA), to ensure that this state broadcaster complies with the rules, is not monopolized by anyone or turned into a propaganda tool, and acts as a proper public-service media.”A few days before yesterday’s resumption of broadcasting, the government fired Pascal Brou Aka as RTI director-general and replaced him by programme director Lazare Sayé Aka. The authorities blamed Aka for “serious problems” including the lack of an RTI crew at the airport to cover President Alassane Ouattara’s return from a visit to the United States.————————————————————————————26.07.2011 – State TV journalist who supported former regime facing possible life sentenceReporters Without Borders is very concerned about Hermann Aboa, a journalist employed by state-owned Radio-Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI) and a supporter of the former regime, who has been held for the past five days in Abidjan on charges that carry a possible life sentence. The organization calls for his immediate release.Journalist Baudelaire Mieu, the Reporters Without Borders correspondent in Côte d’Ivoire, visited Aboa at midday today at the Agban gendarmerie barracks in Abidjan, where he is in pre-trial custody.“Hermann Aboa is fine,” Mieu reported after the visit. “He is sharing a cell with another detainee. He has a mattress and is being treated well. He is allowed visits. But he says he does not understand what has happened to him. At a hearing last week, he was questioned about the content of the programme he hosted on RTI.”Reporters Without Borders has approved an assistance grant for Aboa’s family.“By serving as a government propaganda tool during Laurent Gbagbo’s presidency, RTI played a role that was often shocking and sometimes outrageous at times of crisis, such as early 2011,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. “We never missed an opportunity to condemn this at the time. But prosecuting some of its journalists worries us because it seems to be an act of revenge that is a far cry from the policy of national reconciliation that the present government professes.“If Aboa’s activities as a journalist are really the issue, he should be charged with media offences under the 2004 media law, which would protect him from imprisonment. But it seems that the prosecutor’s office has deliberately tried to sidestep that provision.”Aboa was charged on 21 July with threatening the nation’s defences, attacking and conspiring against state authorities, undermining national territorial integrity, participating in an armed band, participating in an insurrectional movement and attacking public order.During the post-election crisis, Aboa was one of the hosts on La Première, the main RTI channel, of a discussion programme called “Reasons of State” in which arguments in support of President Gbagbo’s remaining in office were repeatedly presented, often in the most virulent manner.Aboa went to the justice ministry on 20 July to begin the steps needed to get a freeze on his bank accounts lifted. When he returned the next day, he was questioned for several hours and then charged and placed under arrest.His arrest came just as the government announced that RTI will resume broadcasting on 6 August.Five other journalists or former journalists allied with old regime are currently detained or under house arrest. They are Franck Anderson Kouassi, head of the former National Council for Broadcasting Communication (CNCA), Gnahoua Zibrabi, former publisher of L’Oeil du Peuple and onetime Gbagbo adviser, Armand Bohui Komé, former member of the National Press Council (CNP) and press officer to the First Lady, and RTI journalists Serge Boguhé and Germain Guezé.More than three months have passed since the post-election crisis ended with Alassane Ouattara’s installation as president but journalists are still frightened about working for opposition or independent media. The pro-Gbagbo media keep on moving their offices. The headquarters of the Notre Voie daily is still occupied by members of the Atchengué unit of the pro-Ouattara Côte d’Ivoire Republican Forces (FRCI). Journalists employed by the Le Temps daily are too scared to go to work. News Côte d’IvoireAfrica October 16, 2020 Find out more Threats against journalists in run-up to Côte d’Ivoire’s presidential election RSF_en center_img Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts November 27, 2020 Find out more October 29, 2020 Find out more News Reports to go further RSF’s recommendations for protecting press freedom during Côte d’Ivoire’s elections Newslast_img read more