Foreign Minister Calls for Thorough Re-evaluation of Seychelles Media Landscape
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, has called on the organization ‘Reporters Sans Frontières’ (Reporters without Borders) to send an assessment mission to Seychelles following the publication of their 2013 report which downgraded Seychelles by 20 places.
The new position of Seychelles, from 73rd to 93rd, places the country below countries such as Kosovo, Gabon, East Timor, Paraguay, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Kuwait, Congo, Sierra Leone, Mauritania and Central African Republic and the Minister has questioned the reasoning that prompted the new ranking.
In a letter sent to Secretary General of RSF, Mr. Christophe Deloire, the Minister asked what evidence was considered in the organisations assessment to indicate that Seychellois journalists have been operating in such perilous, life threatening circumstance over the past 12 months.
Minister Adam stated that, as per the organisations criteria of legal obstacles and the risks of danger and human rights violations to journalists, there were no legal cases brought against any journalist, nor is any evidence of any journalist being in danger. The Minister added that Seychelles had in fact made many advances in promoting media freedom over the past 12 months, including reducing many barriers as to the owning and operating of radio stations and television channels:
“In 2012 the Seychelles regulations were amended to allow for radio and TV licences to become more affordable. Now a yearlong national radio licence costs 100,000 SR (at just 8,333 SR a month). This is a rate that is comparatively cheaper than a large number of countries. Can a European country of similar size boast a 500-Euros a month fee for a national radio licence? Also the TV license now costs 250,000SR (20,833SR a month) and for subscription TV licences it is 800,000SR (67,000SR a month). Following this change, in 2012 it was announced that 2 privately owned radio stations, Pure FM and Seashell FM, are to be set up. Pure FM has recruited its staff, set up its studios and will be launched imminently.”
In addition the Minister called on the RSF to work with the local media to have a true and accurate assessment as to the state of reporting in the country.