On Friday, the newspaper “L’alternative” has been slapped with a four-month suspension by the communications authority in Togo (HAAC) for allegedly defaming a member of the Togolese government.
The Togolese press is having a bad time. Few weeks after the sanctions against “L’Indépendant express”, it was the turn of the bi-weekly “L’Alternative” to be suspended from publication for a while.
The decision of February 5, 2021, taken by the High Authority for Audiovisual and Communication (HAAC), follows a complaint filed by the Minister of Town Planning, Housing and Land Reform, Koffi Tsolenyanou, who is also a notary, for publication of “false information, offense and defamation”.
This concerns a report in L’Alternative which had questioned the minister’s administration of the estate of wealthy trader Georges Kudawoo, who died in 1940.
However, HAAC said the paper’s director, Ferdinand Messan Ayité did not provide proof of his allegations during a hearing on Friday and had declined to rectify the story.
As a result, l’alternative is once again subject to a four-month suspension from February 5, 2021.
As a reminder, in March 2020, “Liberté”, another newspaper very critical towards the Power of Lomé, and “l’Alternative” were suspended, following a complaint from Marc Vizy, the French ambassador to Togo at the time, who considered having been slandered, along with his country, by these bodies in some of their publications.