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The Togo government permanently shut down the country’s leading private radio station for broadcasting reports of fraud as the country was holding elections.

The Broadcast and Communications High Authority of Togo had suspended Radio Légende FM for one month after it aired allegations that electoral fraud was taking place in the home of a local official. On Aug. 27, the ruling party declared the allegations were false and the police permanently shut down the station without a warrant. The opposition had already voiced concern about possible fraud from the ruling party before the station had aired the story.

The broadcast authority’s president told the Committee to Protect Journalists last week that the station’s coverage had “incited violence and that police intervention had been necessary to ensure security.” He said that Radio Légende FM had to apply again for a new frequency through the regulatory agency the next time the government opens bids for the new frequencies.

Local journalists told the CPJ that Togo’s government wanted to permanently silence the critical station. Press groups have also condemned the closure and see it as a sign the government may shut down other media outlets, AllAfrica reported.

A crowd protested in front of the Radio Légende building in the capital of Togo after the station was suspended but there were no reports of violence.

Opposition leaders threatened to boycott the election if the government refused to reform the electoral process but didn’t go through with the threat, The Australian reported.

By Maria Jose Valero. 

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