Benin’s media regulatory body, the Higher Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HAAC) on March 10, 2011 suspended, for a week, nine privately-owned newspapers in the country over false and abusive publications.
The newspapers which include “Le Clairon”, “Le Béninois”, “L’Engagement”, “Les Scoops du jour”, “L’Audace Info”, “La Suite”, “La Nouvelle Tribune”, “Actu Express” and “Le Béninois Libéré” have been barred from publishing since March14.They are, however, expected back on the newsstands on March 20.
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that the newspapers’ alleged offences were in violation of a February 1 HAAC directive regarding the mode of media campaigning during the just ended Presidential Elections and also, the country’s media code of ethics, which prohibits the media from publishing insults, baseless accusations and false information.
The correspondent said to ensure the enforcement of the ban, HAAC President, M. Théophile NATA, has also lodged a complaint at the state prosecutor’s department in accordance, with statutory provisions.
According to HAAC, the suspension emanated from the report of its monitoring team and that that the offending newspapers and the Watchdog for Professional Code of Conduct and Ethics for the Media in Benin (ODEM) have been duly notified.