Media law - The overwhelming majority of the Togolese media on Tuesday observed a blackout to protest against the law strengthening the administrative and disciplinary powers of the Supreme Audiovisual and Communication Authority (HAAC), the media regulatory body.
The news stands had only the government daily, Togo Presse, and three newspapers close to the ruling majority while privately-owned radio stations suspended their programmes and played only music.
The action of the media comes in the wake of the passing of a law on 19 February by the national assembly that gives sweeping administrative and disciplinary powers of the media regulatory body.
The law gives HAAC the power to suspend the publication of newspapers and radio and television programmes, impose financial penalties, withdraw the press card and seize the broadcast antenna of radio stations without resorting to the courts of justice as was stipulated in the previous law.
The only possibility offered to the media is to resort to the administrative chamber of the Supreme court.
Whereas media organizations describe the law as a 'real decline of press freedom in Togo', the Togolese authorities say it would 'give powers to HAAC to mitigate the excesses noted in the media world'.
In addition to the press blackout day, media organizations have called on journalists and Togolese as a whole to show their demand for freedom of expression and the media in the West African country by dressing in red or carrying red banners on Wednesday.
On Thursday, journalists are called on to 'massively mobilize' to stage a sit-in in front of the presidency from 0800-1200 GMT.