Reporters Without Borders Annual Report 2006 - Togo
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||3 May 2006|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Reporters Without Borders Annual Report 2006 - Togo, 3 May 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/46e6909bc.html [accessed 2 September 2014]|
From a dictatorial situation in which the mildest criticism of the regime was seen as a crime of state, the country of President General Gnassingbé Eyadéma slowly began to evolve. Under European Union pressure, Togo decriminalised press offences. Even if the government remained extremely sensitive and had no hesitation in attacking disobedient journalists, unfair arrests, abusive suspensions and death threats were less common. The death of the patriarch, on 5 February 2005, after 38 years in power, followed by a "velvet coup" by his son Faure, seriously shook up the political landscape and a private press that was looking to become more radical. As a result, the election campaign was marred by street violence and police blunders of which journalists were often the targets. Order was finally restored but the gulf between the media and government deepened. Critical journalists say that they are still under surveillance and sometimes punished, in a throwback to the times of dictatorship. The press is often politicised and for some, self-censorship amounts to a survival reflex.