Friday 24 November 2017

Guinea-Bissau restores Portuguese broadcasts after spat

Guinea-Bissau restores Portuguese broadcasts after spat
(AFP (eng) 11/10/17)
Guinea-Bissau restores Portuguese broadcasts after spat

Portuguese TV and radio broadcasts have resumed in Guinea-Bissau after a four-month break prompted by a dispute between the small West African state and its former colonial power.

On June 30, the government "suspended" broadcasting by the RTP radio and television station and RDP state radio.

The declared reason was that Portugal had failed to observe an agreement between the two countries on media support.

But political sources said at the time that it seemed driven by suspicions of interference in a long-running domestic power struggle.

Broadcasts resumed on Thursday after Prime Minister Umaro Sissoco Embalo visited the offices of RTP, an AFP reporter saw.

"The resumption of broadcasts is a good thing for cooperation between Portugal and Guinea-Bissau," Embalo told journalists.

"We have always wanted the (Portuguese) media to handle news from Guinea-Bissau objectively, just as they would with news from other countries," he said.

In June, Communications Minister Victor Pereira said the suspension was motivated by Portugal's failure to observe a media agreement.

Under the accord, a team from RTP is based in the capital Bissau, the two countries exchange media programmes and local journalists and technicians are offered training.

Government spokesman Fernando Vaz said Thursday that Portugal would pay for fuel to provide electricity at a station at Nhacra, which houses antenna for RTP, RDP and the French broadcaster Radio France internationale (RFI).

In June, political sources said the suspension reflected suspicions within the government that Portugal, via its national media was seeking to influence a struggle for power by providing more airtime to opponents of President Jose Mario Vaz, after he sacked his prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira in August 2015.

Both men are members of the African Party for Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).

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