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Côte d'Ivoire

Liberalize Television Space (CI0025)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Côte d’Ivoire Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Communication and Media

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Communication and Media; HACA ; SIDT Digital terrestrial Television channel Editors (TNT), satellite packages, technical committee, pilot committee of the migration to DTT

Policy Areas

Civic Space, Media & Telecommunications

IRM Review

IRM Report: Côte d’Ivoire Hybrid Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: No IRM Data

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Commitment 10 : Liberalize television space
July 2018-June 2020
Main implementing agency/
actor
Ministry of Communication and Media
Commitment description
What is the public interest
issue to be addressed by
this commitment?
- limited liberalization of television sector ;
- limited expression plurality;
- insufficient stimulation of a creative and competitive
ecosystem;
- low level of Ivorian audiovisual works.
What is the commitment ?
To ensure that liberalization is as meaningful as possible, the
commitment will consist in:
- constructing a building to host the network head;
- making the signal available to enable all TNT channel
editors to broadcast.
How will the commitment
contribute to solve the
public problem?
The liberalization of the audiovisual sector is a process to
foster cohesion and openness of the media playing a key role
in the construction of a balanced, operational and socio
educative public sector.
The triad of "Inform, Educate, entertain" therefore make sense
with the emergence of Ivorian operators having national and
regional editorial offer to create a close link around
information in the areas of agriculture, economy, health,
transport or eduction.
by opening the audiovisual landscape, the Government
ensures diversity of opinions (diversity of contents and
editorial lines), strengthens the right to information.
There are 7 channels which shall broadcast in other words, on
TNT network as early as 2018 over more than half of the
territory (100% covered at the end of 2019).
Why is this commitment
relevant to OGP values?
this commitment is relevant as it allows to:
- encourage access to information
- Guarantee freedom of expression;
- diversify audiovisual contents
Additional information the liberalization has been achieved: a call for tender was launched in 2016 by the High Authority of Audiovisual
Communication (HAC.A)
HACA has selected four (4) TNT channel operators and two (2)
satellite package operators. In 2017, the law on legal regime of
audiovisual communication has finalized the process.
The national broadcasting operator, Ivoirienne de
Télédiffusion, was established late 2017 in order to ensure its
deployment.
Important activity having
a verifiable deliverable Start date End date
TNT network construction July 2018 June 2019
making the signal available
to enable all TNT channel
editors to broadcast.
July 2019 June 2020
Contact information
Name of responsible
person from the
implementing agency
Yves MIEZAN-EZO,
Title, Ministry
- Deputy cabinet director;
- Ministry of Communication and Media.
Email and Phone
- y.miezanezo@communication.gouv.ci ;
- +225 03 78 89 35
Other
stakeholders
involved
State actors
involved
Ministry of Communication and Media;
HACA ;
SIDT.
CSOs, private
sector,
multilaterals,
working
groups
Digital terrestrial Television channel Editors (TNT), satellite
packages, technical committee, pilot committee of the
migration to DTT

IRM End of Term Status Summary

10. Liberalize television space

Commitment description as provided in the action plan:

"To ensure that liberalization is as meaningful as possible, the commitment will consist in:

- constructing a building to host the network head;

- making the signal available to enable all TNT channel editors to broadcast."

Milestones:

  1. TNT network construction
  2. Making the signal available to enable all TNT channel editors to broadcast"

Editorial note: For the full text of this commitment, see Côte d'Ivoire’s action plan 2018-2020: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Cote-Divoire_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.pdf.

Lead implementing agency/actor: Government Centre for Information and Communication

Start Date: July 2018

End Date: June 2020

Commitment Overview

Verifiability

OGP Value Relevance (as written)

Potential Impact

Completion

Did It Open Government?

Not specific enough to be verifiable

Specific enough to be verifiable

Access to Information

Civic Participation

Public Accountability

Technology & Innovation for Transparency & Accountability

None

Minor

Moderate

Transformative

Not Started

Limited

Substantial

Completed

Worsened

Did Not Change

Marginal

Major

Outstanding

Overall

not assessed

Context and design

This commitment aimed to ensure that Côte d’Ivoire's transition from an analogue to digital television network included the liberalization and explanation of the television channels available. Therefore, this commitment aimed to increase the plurality of voices contributing to public debate and sources of information and entertainment accessible to citizens. Since 2016, the monopoly of Côte d'Ivoire's media space by state-run outlets started to fade. A significant step to set the basis for a competitive television ecosystem was created by the High Authority for Audiovisual Communications (HACA), Côte d'Ivoire's broadcast regulator, which began to open spaces for private television stations. [131] In May 2016, the HACA issued a call for tenders and in December it announced the approval of four new private television channels and two companies to serve as multiplex operators. A decree on the liberalization of the audiovisual area was adopted in June 2017.

This reform builds on commitment 12 in Côte d’Ivoire's 2016-2018 action plan, which sought to liberalize the newspaper and television space. During the implementation period, legislative changes broadened freedom of speech by giving journalists more legal room to operate. However, civil society members noted that the fee to establish a television channel was a significant barrier. [132]

In this context, this commitment aimed to diversify audiovisual content and promote access to information by constructing a building to host the network head office and by making the signal available to enable all TNT (Digital Terrestrial Television) channel editors to broadcast. [133]

According to a governance and transparency expert who is also a journalist [134], this commitment would allow greater expression of a plurality of opinions as well as fuel a creative and competitive ecosystem in the audiovisual sector. As written in the action plan, the proposed actions are sufficiently clear and specific to verify their completion in and objective manner. Indeed, it is possible to assess the TNT network has been set up and whether the signal to enable all TNT channel editors to broadcast is available. The commitment is relevant to the OGP values of access to information as well as technology and innovation, as the measures proposed would allow more channels to broadcast and, therefore, more information would circulate in the country. It is also relevant to civic participation by providing more channels to a plurality of perspectives and thus enhancing civic space.

This commitment is considered to an important but incremental step toward improving access to information and civic space in Côte d'Ivoire. As a result, the commitment was considered to have a minor potential impact. Digital Terrestrial Television could liberalize the audiovisual space through the launch of private and free television channels in Côte d'Ivoire, which would end the monopoly of public audiovisual media [135]. However, as specified by a civil society representative [136], the construction of the TNT network and the availability of the broadcast signal is only the first step to liberalize the television space. To increase the potential impact of this commitment, it would also be important to implement other safeguards to guarantee that the stations can broadcast freely, for example, guarantees that journalists can express themselves freely, and measures to foster a creative and competitive ecosystem as the commitment proposes. [137]

Completion

The commitment was substantially completed during the implementation period. The TNT signal reportedly covers 60% of the population, infrastructures are available throughout the country and full deployment of TNT was planned for March 2021. [138] This commitment was not evaluated for open government impact, as it has limited ambition in terms of open government aims. Increased technical infrastructure is an important first step toward a more liberal media landscape. However, technical advancements should be accompanied by enhanced legal safeguards to continue enabling freedom of speech in Côte d'Ivoire. Specifically, in considering future related commitments, the IRM recommends that:

  1. The government engage journalists and civil society to consider possible open government reforms to address the mistreatment of journalists by security forces and police. [139]
  2. The government engage journalists and civil society to consider reforms that reduce the legal sanctions on journalists and ensure independent and thorough investigations into crimes against journalists. [140]
  3. Continue to strengthen implementation of Côte d'Ivoire's Public Information Act to ensure that media have comprehensive and timely access to government-held information. [141]
[131] Freedom of the Press 2017 - Côte d'Ivoire, https://www.refworld.org/docid/5a4cd502d.html.
[133] Côte d’Ivoire action plan 2018-2020.
[134] Journalist and state official, governance and transparency expert, phone and e-mail exchanges in March 2019.
[135] “Passage à la TNT : les travaux commencent en Côte d’Ivoire”, 20 août 2018, Baudelaire Mieu, Jeune Afrique website, https://www.jeuneafrique.com/617071/economie/passage-a-la-tnt-les-travaux-commencent-en-cote-divoire/
[136] Journalist and state official, governance and transparency expert, phone and e-mail exchanges in March 2019.
[138] Côte d’Ivoire End-of-term Self-Assessment Report of action plan 2018-2020.
[139] Reporters Without Borders. Côte d'Ivoire Country Page. 2021. https://rsf.org/en/cote-divoire
[140] Reporters Without Borders. "RSF’s recommendations for protecting press freedom during Côte d’Ivoire’s elections" 2020. https://rsf.org/en/news/rsfs-recommendations-protecting-press-freedom-during-cote-divoires-elections
[141] See Côte d'Ivoire's 2016 commitment "Promote Access to Public Information Act": https://www.opengovpartnership.org/members/cote-divoire/commitments/CI0011/

Commitments

Open Government Partnership