February 12, 2002 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Private radio station suspended for three weeks

In a letter to Emmanuel Bealoum Touadé, president of the High Council of Communications (Haut conseil de la communication, HCC), RSF protested the community radio station FM Liberté's three-week suspension. "The authorities are blaming the radio station for a demonstration that took place, yet the station was only doing its job and had no reason not to report this information," explained RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard. RSF asked that the station's suspension be lifted immediately. According to information collected by RSF, the HCC suspended the private radio station FM Liberté from 11 February to 4 March 2002. According to the broadcasting authority, the station violated Article 14 of the schedule of conditions governing the operation of private community radio stations. This article bans the broadcast of "information likely to disrupt public order". FM Liberté reported on a demonstration in Cameroon by Université de Ngaoundéré (north of Yaoundé) students, during which Chad nationals were arrested by soldiers and roughed up by Cameroonians. The news angered students at the Félix Eboué Secondary School in N'Djamena, who protested against the presence of Cameroonian nationals in Chad on 4 February. Several persons were injured during the demonstration. RSF recalls that the HCC previously threatened to close FM Liberté on 8 May 2001, during the last presidential election campaign. The radio station had protested the broadcasting authority's decision barring "all political debate or debate of a political nature...on the airwaves of private, associative or community radio stations during the entire 2001 presidential election campaign period". The radio station's management finally reached an agreement with the HCC. FM Liberté was allowed to cover the campaign, except on its programme "Le club de la presse".