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Affoussiata Bamba Lamine
Minister of Communication
PO Box V 138
Subject: Violation of media pluralism
Reporters Without Borders, an international organization that defends freedom of information, would like to express its astonishment at reading the letter you wrote to your counterpart in Benin on 14 May asking him to "put a stop" to the programmes Devoir de Vérité and Devoir de Vérité Actu.
The two programmes were subsequently suspended on 30 May at the behest of the High Authority on Broadcasting and Communication of Benin.
We are fully aware of the partisan nature and one-sided presentation of these two programmes, but we do not think that this justified such interference in the activities of privately-owned broadcasters in a neighbouring country.
At my meeting with President Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan on 12 May, he said he wanted to open up broadcasting in Ivory Coast even if, in his view, the political climate was not yet "favourable." Given your president's clear preference for pluralism and openness, how can you justify this complaint?
When the Ivorian broadcasting sector is opened up after the 2015 elections, as President Ouattara has pledged, the government will almost certainly hear very critical opinions being expressed. What will the Ministry of Communication's response then be? To silence these dissident voices without going through legal channels?
We urge you to reaffirm you commitment to broadcast media pluralism without delay, and to refrain from any further interventionist measures.
I thank you in advance for the attention you will give to our requests.
Sincerely, Christophe Deloire Reporters Without Borders secretary-general
CC/ Komi Koutché, Minister of Communication, Republic of Benin Charles Providence Gomis, Ivory Coast Ambassador to France Amadou Coulibaly, Communication Advisor for Broadcasting and Information Technologies, Presidency of the Republic, Ivory Coast Théophile Nata, President of the High Authority for Broadcasting and Communication, Republic of Benin