Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gabon: TV Station shut down

(JED/IFEX) - JED, an independent organisation working to defend and promote freedom of the press (based in Kinshasa, DR Congo) and Secretariat of the OMAC Alerts Network (Organisation des médias d'Afrique Centrale, of which Gabon is a member), have been closely following the 30 August 2009 presidential election in Gabon, particularly in regard to the ability of journalists to freely and safely conduct their work.

JED notes that before and during the election, a number of restrictions were imposed on both national and international media outlets, including the blocking of broadcasts by private television channel TV+, depriving thousands of Gabonese citizens of their right to information. JED believes that the restriction on the free flow of information and the various instances of intimidation of journalists indicate the unwillingness of the authorities to allow for transparency during this important election.

According to various sources, the signal of TV+, a Libreville-based private television station owned by former interior minister and 2009 presidential candidate André Mba Obame, was cut following an order from the National Communications Council (Conseil National de la Communication, CNC). The CNC accused TV+ of airing a 2005 film that showed the late president Omar Bongo in a programme entitled "The Debate".

The TV+ transmitter, located west of Libreville in Cité de la Démocratie, has since been placed under surveillance by the Republican Guard.

JED condemns all of the actions against the media orchestrated by the Gabonese government through the orders of the CNC. Along with other election observers, JED questions the credibility of the election results as a result of the government's deliberate actions against press freedom.

Journaliste en danger
B.P. 633 - Kinshasa 1
374, av. Col. Mondjiba
Complexe Utexafrica, Galerie St Pierre, 1er niveau, Local 18 Kinshasa/Ngaliema
République Démocratique du Congo
Phone: +243 81 99 29 323
Fax: +44 20 7900 3413

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