Marco Chown Oved
2 March 2011
Both RFI and the BBC disappeared from the airwaves in Côte d’Ivoire on Wednesday.
The broadcasters were apparently blocked the day after eight newspapers backing the country’s internationally recognised president Alassane Ouattara closed down, complaining of police harassment.
It was just before noon, when simultaneously, both RFI and the BBC disappeared from the air in Abidjan.
There was no explanation from the CNCA, the audiovisual regulator controlled by Laurent Gbagbo.
But a local technician confirmed that both FM relays were located in the same place in the volotile Abobo neighborhood, where the state television antenna was attacked over the weekend.
A local correspondent speculated that sabotage could be at fault.
But after more than a week of fighting, Abobo is effectively under the control of rebel forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara.
This makes the sabotage hypothesis less likely, as Gbagbo forces are the ones denouncing foreign media.
After one pro-Ouattara newspaper was banned from appearing following the fighting last week, nine papers suspended their publications Tuesday – leaving Gbagbo’s camp with a virtual monopoly on the news.
AllAfrica – All the Time
Côte d’Ivoire: Foreign Broadcasters Taken Off Air