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Media regulatory body suspends nine newspapers for one week

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 10 March 2011, Benin's media regulatory body, the Higher Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HAAC) suspended, for one week, nine privately-owned newspapers in the country over what they alleged were false and abusive publications.

The newspapers which include "Le Clairon", "Le Béninois", "L'Engagement", "Les Scoops du jour", "L'Audace Info", "La Suite", "La Nouvelle Tribune", "Actu Express" and "Le Béninois Libéré" have been barred from publishing since 14 March.They are, however, expected back on the newsstands on 20 March.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the newspapers' alleged offences were in violation of a 1 February HAAC directive regarding the form of media campaigning during the just ended presidential elections and of the country's media code of ethics, which prohibits the media from publishing insults, baseless accusations and false information.

The correspondent said that to ensure the enforcement of the ban HAAC President Théophile NATA has also lodged a complaint at the state prosecutor's department, in accordance with statutory provisions.

According to the HAAC, the suspension stems from the report of its monitoring team and that that the offending newspapers and the Observatory for the Professional Code of Conduct and Ethics for the Media in Benin (ODEM) have been duly notified.

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