- Cameroonian authorities on Thursday shut off a privately-owned television station from broadcasting, accusing its proprietor of failing to pay the required operational licence bond of €150,000.
The closure of Douala-based Equinoxe TV, which took effect at 1pm, was ordered by Cameroon's Minister for Communication, Emmanuel Béyiyi Bi Essam. The minister blamed the TV owner, Séverin Tchounkeu, for illegally operating the station.
A district police superintendent and a superintendent from the Rapid Intervention Unit personally came and placed seals on the TV station’s entrances at 4:15 pm.
“Since the broadcasting sector was opened up in 2005, no TV or radio station has complied with all the formalities imposed by the government, but the government says nothing if that is in its interest,” the Paris-based Reporters sans frontières (RSF) said.
“The financial grounds cited for suspending Equinoxe TV seem to be just a pretext for harassing a news media that has criticised the government’s decision to amend the constitution. We call on the government to lift this suspension so that a democratic debate can continue.”
The closure is believed to be a response to Cameroonian authorities' anger about the Equinoxe's earlier broadcast on a proposed constitutional amendment expected to end the term limit of a president.
Equinoxe has always opposed the amendment, amid receiving official admonishments and threats.
Tchounkeu hopes for a rapid volition in the government’s attitude.
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