Mounting tension between authorities and news media following president’s death

first_img Receive email alerts Organisation TogoAfrica Reporters Without Borders called on the Togolese government today to reestablish a “constructive dialogue” with the country’s news media, voicing concern about growing tension and about intimidation and forced closures of privately-owned radio stations since President Gnassingbé Eyadéma’s death on 5 February.”After years of dictatorship, the Togolese media had been enjoying a degree of freedom as a result international pressure but now, in the current confusion, it is crucial that the authorities prove their commitment to press freedom by choosing dialogue over repression,” the organization said.Radio Lumière, a privately-owned radio station based in Aného (a town 45 km east of the capital and near the border with Benin), was closed yesterday on the local prefect’s orders for “inciting hate and violence.” Two gendarmes and their commander went to the station in the morning and confiscated equipment, including its transmitter. Station manager Kossigan Zinsou said the gendarmes, who did not show a warrant, also took his car and destroyed some of the equipment. He told Reporters Without Borders he had gone into hiding.The president of the Union of Free Radio and Television Stations of Togo (URATEL), Jacques Djakouti, said Radio Lumière was accused of broadcasting a statement by opposition politician Harry Olympio of the Rally for the support of Development and Democracy (RSDD).The communication ministry said the station had been “calling on the population to take to the streets against the government of Fauré Gnassingbé,” referring to the late president’s son, who has taken over as president with the army’s support, in violation of the constitution. Army press officer Capt. Moïse Oyomé Kemence said, “the station has been closed for inciting revolt and hate.”Capt. Kemence issued a warning at a meeting yesterday with radio station executives at the headquarters of the High Council for Broadcasting and Communication (HAAC). “We have noticed that certain stations are playing a very dangerous game with unforeseeable consequences,” he said. “It is not the job of the press to call on the population to take to the streets and practice civil disobedience,” Kemence continued. “We have ways of putting a stop to that, we don’t want a Rwanda here or a Radio des Mille Collines,” he added, referring to the hate media that encouraged the Rwandan genocide.Ever since the takeover by President Gnassingbé’s son, a number of privately-owned radio stations in the capital have broadcast phone-in and talk shows in which participants and members of the public have urged the Togolese population to take to the streets “to reestablish constitutional rule.”After Gen. Gnassingbé’s death was announced, the HAAC formally demanded an end to live broadcasts on three privately-owned radio stations based in Lomé, saying they were urging “the population to revolt.” Kanal FM manager Modeste Masavusu-Ekué received a call from HAAC president Georges Agbodjan on the afternoon of 7 February asking him to stop broadcasting discussion programmes. A second call ordered him to stop his “Round Table” programme.Thereafter, Kanal FM carried nothing but music that afternoon. Masavusu-Ekué told Reporters Without Borders he had previously received anonymous telephone threats. He said he understood the HAAC’s decision and he was no longer broadcasting phone-ins. “But we must be allowed to continue round-table discussion programmes that don’t have contributions from outsiders,” he said. “It’s fine that they want to have mourning for the president but what happened after he died has forced us to have debates which we cannot refuse our listeners.”The privately-owned Radio Nostalgie received the same instructions the next day. Station editor Joël Gbagba said the HAAC president, Agbodjan, called him in the middle of a broadcast and said “play music.” Two armed policemen turned up at the studios at around 2 p.m. asking to see those in charge and those who had presented the debate that was broadcast in the morning.Journalist Gilles Bocco said the policemen’s attitude became threatening. “You have insulted our chief,” one of them said to the staff. “Eyadéma is dead but we are still here. You have incited the people to take to the streets. We will kill them all.” After the two policemen left, the journalists noticed “suspicious individuals” hanging around the building, with “Chinese-made motorcycles, like the ones the security forces use.”The HAAC president proposed yesterday that radio stations should broadcast pre-recorded discussion programmes. “When listeners are allowed to phone in, anonymous callers very often use the media to make appeals for tribal hate or revolt against the constitutional authorities,” he told radio executives.Radio France Internationale (RFI) has not been spared. Communication minister and government spokesman Pitang Tchalla claimed on 7 February that “calls for revolt” were also broadcast by RFI. “This is serious,” he told foreign reporters in Lomé. “I’m referring to RFI in particular. This station’s journalists want to start a fire and I appeal to their conscience. This is destabilisation, pure and simple,” he said.In its look back on Gen. Gbassingbé’s life, RFI had said it was “not very glorious” and called him a “dictator” and former “colonial-era soldier.” The next day, RFI’s local FM relay transmitters were cut in what the authorities called a “technical failure.” FM re-transmission was reestablished two days later without explanation. On 8 February, a visiting RFI correspondent was refused a visa when he tried to enter Togo by land from Benin. RFI expressed its “astonishment” at this decision, especially as journalists from many other media have been able to enter the country without problem. RSF_en February 11, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Mounting tension between authorities and news media following president’s death March 11, 2021 Find out more Togolese authorities urged to lift newspaper’s four-month suspension Reporters Without Borders called on the Togolese government today to reestablish a “constructive dialogue” with the country’s news media, voicing concern about growing tension and about intimidation and forced closures of privately-owned radio stations since President Gnassingbé Eyadéma’s death on 5 February. A number of privately-owned radio stations have broadcast phone-in and talk shows in which participants and members of the public have urged the population to take to the streets “to reestablish constitutional rule.” to go further Follow the news on Togo News News TogoAfrica September 15, 2020 Find out more News Togo court upholds “baseless and disproportionate” newspaper closures News March 8, 2021 Find out more Convicting “petrolgate” journalist of defamation would be disastrous, RSF says Help by sharing this information last_img read more

Top pool player staged sham robbery of Limerick bookies

first_imgNewsTop pool player staged sham robbery of Limerick bookiesBy Staff Reporter – December 23, 2016 3204 WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Neil Madigan from Limerick, who in 2014 was ranked the No 1 Irish Pool Player, staged a robbery at the betting shop he managed. Picture: Don Moloney / Press 22A TOP ranked pool player has been “left in the gutter” over his involvement in robbing the betting shop he managed, Limerick Circuit Court was told last week.Neil Madigan (32) of Prospect, Limerick was said to have run up large gambling debts and was trying to “bet his way out of trouble” when he staged a robbery of the Ladbrokes betting shop on Cecil Street shortly before 9:30pm on March 17, 2015.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up An international pool player, he was also involved in bringing high profile snooker players like Denis Taylor and Steve Davis to Limerick for exhibition matches. He even had an exhibition match arranged for the day after the alleged robbery.Detective Garda Michael Lambe said that Neil Madigan was counting cash when Hayden Johnson (22) from Ballinacurra Weston approached the counter.Madigan later told Gardaí that he let Johnson in behind the counter because he was afraid he was going to be stabbed.Johnson made off with €6,000 in cash but missed another bag of money in the safe.The store manager gave a detailed statement to Gardaí in which he recounted details of the alleged robbery. Extensive CCTV footage was from around the city centre was examined and eventually Johnson was identified through an unusual jacket he was wearing.Johnson, who was a former apprentice jockey, was arrested and after initially denying any involvement, he later admitted to robbing the betting shop and claimed there was only €2,000 in the cash bag which was not recovered.The head of security at Ladbrokes became suspicious of Neil Madigan’s actions on the night of the alleged robbery as he had failed to adhere to certain security protocols. He had also failed to make bank lodgements for two days before incident.Prosecution Counsel John O’Sullivan BL said it soon became apparent “that it was effectively an inside job”.He was betting on credit at the shop he managed as well as betting in other shops around the city.Three months later, he admitted his involvement and told Gardaí that he met an unnamed man who said he could help him by “sending a young fella down if there was money ready”.Madigan, who worked with Ladbrokes for 11 years, didn’t think the man was serious but went along with it after he was told the debt would be wiped out.Defence counsel Brian McInerney said his client was now “in the gutter and has limited prospects such is the attraction this story will get”.Hayden Johnson had since secured a job and offered to pay €100 every two weeks to repay the €2,000 he claimed was in the bag.Adjourning the case for 12 months, Judge Tom O’Donnell said he would take into account if any compensation was paid.Madigan and Johnson were released on continuing bail. Advertisement RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival TAGSDennis TaylorfeaturedLadbrokeslimerickLimerick Limerick Circuit CourtPoolrobberySteve Davis WhatsApp Print Facebook Limerick’s Neil Madigan who in 2014 was ranked the No 1 Irish Pool Player.Picture: Don Moloney / Press 22 Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live Previous articleLimerick victim of savage assault says there’s no justiceNext articleWin cinema tickets Staff Reporter Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live Twitter Linkedin Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” Email Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clashlast_img read more

Gourmet garden

first_imgBy George BoyhanUniversity of GeorgiaGourmet salad greens don’t have to cost a fortune. You can easily grow your own.Most salad greens are cool-weather crops. Depending on where yougarden in Georgia, you can start sowing salad green seeds inAugust and continue every week through late October.Seeds of salad greens are sold as mixes or separately. The mixesmay contain any combination of lettuces and greens. Some aretangy. Others are mild or bitter. Combine them with a zestydressing, and the salad is no longer something that’s just goodfor you.Arugula has a toasty, pungentflavor and is a favorite for mixes. It’s rich in beta caroteneand higher in vitamin C than almost any other salad green.Endive is in the same family aslettuce. With smooth, pale, long heads, it has more flavor thanmany lettuces. Curly endive, sometimes called chicory, has curlyedged, green leaves.Escarole has broad, wavy greenleaves with a pleasant, slightly bitter flavor.Radicchio, or red chicory, addscolor and mildly bitter flavor to salads.Mache, also called corn salad, has velvety leaves and a mild taste.Watercress has pungent sprigs that look like parsley. Cresses have a peppery flavor, while mustards “bite” your tongue.How to grow themPlant salad green seeds a quarter-inch deep in rows 18 to 24inches apart. You can space them as close as 6 to 12 inches ifyou plan to harvest young, immature leaves.To keep those fresh salads coming, plant about 5 feet per weekthrough the fall.Salad greens can be grown in semishade but do best with at least3 to 4 hours of sun. Fertilize your greens moderately with oneside-dressing. The growing season for lettuce varies with thecultivar. Most will be ready to harvest within 40 to 60 days.Head lettuce will take longer to form a head.Harvest the greens with scissors when they’re young. Cut theyoung leaves a half-inch to an inch above the soil and the leavesmay regrow for a second harvest. Or cut them at ground level fora single harvest.Seed sourcesHere are some seed companies that offer gourmet salad-green seeds for home gardeners: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, 955 Benton Avenue, Winslow, Me.04901 (207) 861-3900 ( Garden Nursery, 1190 Old Salem Road NE, Albany, OR97321-4580 ( Seed Company, P.O. Box 158, Cottage Grove, OR97424-0061 (800) 626-0866 ( Cook’s Garden, P.O. Box C5030, Warminster, PA 18974(catalog $1) (800) 457-9703 ( (George Boyhan is a Cooperative Extension horticulturist withthe University of Georgia College of Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences. Wayne McLaurin, professor emeritus ofhorticulture with UGA Extension, contributed to this article.)last_img read more