Ivory Coast to silence French radio station

15th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

ABIDJAN, July 14 (AFP) - The broadcasting authority in Ivory Coast said on Thursday that it was suspending FM broadcasts throughout the country by France's state owned radio world service, RFI, from midnight on Friday, citing "unprofessional treatment" of news from the restive west African state.

ABIDJAN, July 14 (AFP) - The broadcasting authority in Ivory Coast said on Thursday that it was suspending FM broadcasts throughout the country by France's state owned radio world service, RFI, from midnight on Friday, citing "unprofessional treatment" of news from the restive west African state.

In a statement defending its decision Thursday, the national TV and radio council cited RFI's coverage of two recent news events as examples of what it said was "unequal sourcing".

The first story centred on the death on July 2 of Ivorian Colonel Bakassa Traore, several days after he was stopped by soldiers after leaving a dinner at the residence of the French ambassador.

"RFI journalists failed to obtain the facts from the Ivorian military hierarchy before delivering tendentious and disagreeable interpretations," the statement said.

The council also took issue with RFI's reporting on a wave of communal violence that swept through the western Ivory Coast region of Duekoue, leaving at least 100 people dead. The broadcasting council criticised the French network for mentioning a UN report that "incriminated Ivorian authorities".

"The UN has denied the existence of this report... yet until now, RFI has not corrected its references to this report," the statement said.

Radio France International was also fined EUR 14,000 by the council, and told that broadcasts would not resume until it publicly denied the existence of the UN report "at least five times" over the course of its broadcasts.

RFI has not had a bureau in the main Ivory Coast business city of Abidjan since October 2003, when its correspondent Jean Helene was killed in the city by an Ivorian police officer.

Broadcasts of its programs, and of other international news networks, have been suspended intermittently over the course of the three-year conflict in the divided country, which is a former French colony.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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