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President withdraws defamation charges against three newspapers

(MFWA/IFEX) - President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé of Togo has withdrawn five legal suits he filed against three privately-owned Lomé-based newspapers for allegedly defaming and insulting his personality.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that President Gnassingbé withdrew the two suits against "L'Indépendant Express" on 28 September 2010.

The correspondent said managing editor Carlos Kétohou was informed by Robert Baoubadi Bakaï, the state prosecutor, that the state was no longer interested in the case.

Early on 24 September, the editors of the two newspapers "La Lanterne" and "Liberté" were also told by the state prosecutor that the case against them had been discontinued by President Gnassingbé.

The Togolese President separately brought the action against "L'Indépendant Express", "La Lanterne" and "Liberté" in late August, following a series of articles that the newspapers had published in their respective issues accusing him of mismanagement and corruption.

For instance on 12 August, "La Lanterne" wrote that: "Faure Gnassingbé's inability to govern (is being) confirmed day in, day out."

MFWA is happy about this gesture and calls on the media and journalists in Togo to return this gesture by ensuring a high journalistic standard in the country.

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