New bill makes provisions for five years’ imprisonment for “insulting the head of state”

first_img March 8, 2021 Find out more News August 22, 2002 – Updated on January 20, 2016 New bill makes provisions for five years’ imprisonment for “insulting the head of state” News News September 15, 2020 Find out more Organisation TogoAfrica Follow the news on Togo Togolese authorities urged to lift newspaper’s four-month suspension March 11, 2021 Find out morecenter_img TogoAfrica In mid-August 2002, Minister of Communications Pitang Tchallapresented a new bill to amend the Press Code to the government. The billmakes provisions for heavy prison sentences for defaming or insulting thepresident or state institutions.In a letter to Togolese Prime Minister Koffi Sama, Reporters sans frontières Secretary-General Robert Ménard stated, “This bill demonstrates that the Togolese authorities have decided to further increase their repression of journalists. In 1998,Togo was one of the first countries to initiate the decriminalisation ofpress law violations. This sudden turnaround is very disappointing andhardly encouraging for the future of the country’s private press.” Reporters sans frontières urged the prime minister not to present the bill to Parliament.Article 89 of the Press Code amendment bill stipulates that “insulting thepresident is punishable by a one to five-year jail term with no parole and afine of one to five million CFA francs” (approx. US$1,480 to 7,390; 1,525 to7,620 euros). The bill also makes provisions for a three-month to two-yearprison term for anyone who insults “the National Assembly speaker, the primeminister, parliamentarians, government members and consitutionalinstitutions”. In the current Press Code, insulting the head of state ispunishable by a one to six-month prison term.The bill also provides for a three-year jail term (vs. a three-month jailterm at present) for defamation of “courts, tribunals, the armed forces,security forces, constituent bodies and the public administration”. A newarticle also gives the minister responsible for home affairs and securitythe authority to order “the seizure of copies of all publications (…)whose content is likely to threaten public order and security”. Togo court upholds “baseless and disproportionate” newspaper closures Convicting “petrolgate” journalist of defamation would be disastrous, RSF says Receive email alerts to go further RSF_en News Help by sharing this information last_img

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