With 171 newspapers, 74 radio stations and 10 TV channels, Togo has a densely-populated media landscape but the state media still struggle to provide a proper public news service. Press offences have been decriminalised since 2004 and journalists’ organisations are capable of rallying support for the media when they are under attack. The press freedom situation is nonetheless very dependent on politics. At election time, journalists tend to censor themselves on such taboo subjects as corruption, the army, the president and the president’s family. During a series of major opposition protests calling for President Faure Gnassingbé’s departure in 2017, the authorities took a tougher line with the media, stripping the correspondent of France 24 and TV5 Monde of her accreditation and disconnecting the Internet for several days. The tension has let up somewhat since then and the number of abuses against journalists has fallen. Internet connections were disrupted again in February 2020 during the presidential election vote count. Professionalising the media, protecting journalists, especially during protests, protecting their sources and access to more financial resources in order to guarantee the media’s economic viability are the main challenges for the new media law that the national assembly adopted in December 2019. The development of an investigative journalism culture is being held back by the High Authority for Broadcasting and Communication, a media regulator whose lack of independence is clear from the way it harasses, prosecutes and imposes sanctions that have included suspending one newspaper after another, the latest being investigative journalist Ferdinand Mensah Ayité’s bi-weekly, L’Alternative.
71 in 2020
29.33 in 2020