Thursday, October 01, 2009 
Private Press Gets Major Boost in Togo

Private press in Togo will soon experience a face lift; the forty-five private media houses in Togo have received a grant of 350 million CFA francs about $ 700,000 from the president Faure Gnassingbe.  The grant is to help improve the quality of service the media houses offers the nation when it comes to news presentation.

The forty-five media houses which were chosen satisfied criteria such as continuous publication through out the year , a fixed office from where they operate , a staff of journalist on payroll with social security benefits and evidence of tax obligations. Five media houses did not meet these criteria and will therefore not benefit from this financial opportunity.  Most of the print media houses received two and four million francs to help finance the purchase of computers and state of the art media equipment and if possible a suitable office space to enhance productivity.

The president’s decision to give this grant has been lauded by stakeholders in the media industry. Togo’s media and especially private media houses are flourishing and conquering task of bring reliable and up to the minute information to the citizenry.  There are currently over sixty private print media houses, eight private television and more than thirty private radio stations enjoying press freedom in the country.

One may wonder why the president of Togo allows this level of freedom among the press since over the years his father has done everything in his power to stifle their existence and fight critics. President Faure Gnassingbe has dealt with his critics from the print, radio or newspapers well and even made it a policy to take some editors with him on international trips.