The High Authority for Broadcasting and Communication (HAAC), the media regulatory body, on November 22, 2012 announced the suspension of two interactive programmes, Actu matin and Arbre à Palabre, both on privately-owned television station, Canal 3 Benin, upon the request of Dr. Thomas Yayi Boni, President of the Republic of Benin.
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that, the suspension comes in the wake of a complaint made by President Yayi Boni to the Chairman of the HAAC on September 19, 2012, insisting that action be taken against Canal 3 and some other media houses for “disturbing public order and presenting all the risks of weakening national cohesion …”
According to the correspondent, the President was also against the presence of Lawyer Lionel Agbo, former Advisor to the Head of State, on the airwaves of Canal 3 on September 18, 2012, stating that it violates the HAAC’s statement of September 5, 2012 which cautions media organizations from acting in any manner that will endanger social peace and national cohesion.
Lawyer Agbo, who resigned a few months ago, is currently facing defamation charges over alleged statements he made against members of government and an entourage of the Head of State, during a press conference broadcast by media houses including Canal 3.
After considering this request and finding both programmes guilty of violating aspects of the media professional code of conduct, the HAAC decided to ban Actu Matin for two weeks (November 26 – December 9, 2012) and Arbre à palabre for three months (November 26 – February 25, 2013.)