We celebrate today the World Press Freedom Day.
To be honest with you, it is only this morning that I knew about it … (I’m a bad citizen I know) but I guess I’m not the only one, I bet my boots that I’m among the at least 50% of malagasy people who believed that today was just a simple Thursday.
But let’s not make a big deal on my lack of culture and let’s go straight to the point: How is the state of Press Freedom in Madagascar? Answer: the report of Reporters sans frontières. We are ranked 134th on a list of 175 countries!!! Thank you dear supreme beloved leader Andry RAJOELINA!
Andry RAJOELINA chose democracy as leading topic for his orange revolution and after 03 years, this is the result: political instability – economical crisis – social crisis – moral deterioration – decline of democracy and freedom, including then regular violation of press rights.
What did you expect after a millitary-backed coup?
Press censorship is not that visible in Madagascar. Indeed, from an external and primary view, we have several radio and TV stations, several newspapers and information web sites. There is a clear plethora of journalistic actors in Madagascar … So where is the problem?
In 2009 and 2010, the transition authorities have done direct illegal actions against Malagasy press. There are many cases such as:
- illegal closure of radio stations in 2010: Radio fahazavana (radio station of FJKM protestant church) – Radio Mada (radio station of the former president Marc RAVALOMANANA) …
- massive looting during the period of 2009 turmoil against MBS Group (TV and radio station of Marc RAVALOMANANA), Le Quotidien and Ny Vaovaontsika (daily newspapers of Marc RAVALOMANANA)
- illegal police attack against Frequence + radio station in 2010
After 2010, the threat is more indirect but always so persuasive. It is very hard to bring undeniable evidences on the table but one thing is sure, there are now two types of press censorship:
– Either press owners are directly threatened by “some people who handle high position in the current regime” and as consequence, they ban their journalists from reporting “stinky news” which could be damageable for the current regime;
– Or the minister of communication (hold by a former journalist who hates bloggers: Harry Laurent RAHAJASON) does not deliver licences for unclear reasons, and always threatens press owners of closure because of “publication of false news”
Nevertheless, there are newspapers which still dare to show their opposition towards the current regime: Gazety Tia Tanindrazana (belongs to the RAVALOMANANA mouvement), MIDI Madagasikara and Ma-Laza (linked with Mamy RAKOTOARIVELO, head of RAVALOMANANA mouvement and current president of Transition Congress).
Press Freedom is still elusive in Madagascar and Malagasy journalists are always the victims.
Today for the celebration of World Press Freedom Day, the ministry of communication released this following press statement: “The minister of communication would like to remind that call for civil disobedience, hatred and destabilisation, made by means of press, are strictly forbidden by in force laws. Thus, anyone, whoever he or she is, in infringement of these laws, will expose him or herself to sanctions especially litigations”
It means what it means! No? Cheer Up Malagasy journalists!