[Digital Business Africa] – During the installation of the members of the 6th mandate of the High Authority for Audiovisual and Communication (HAAC) on 22 July 2019 in Cotonou, President Patrice Talon called on the new members to “deploy treasures of ingenuity, skill and undoubtedly also a lot of audacity and firmness to engage each other in the ways that will allow the profession (journalism and media man, editor’s note) to emerge from amateurism and venality”.
For the president, 30 years of journalism have not been enough to clean up morals. Patrice Talon advises them to quickly grasp “the relevant issue of ethics and professional conduct in the media, to make it the main instrument of discipline within the corporation, in consultation with professional associations“.
But President Patrice Talon does not hesitate to observe that the shortcomings that exist in the media today “have their origin in the precariousness of the profession, which nothing has prepared for competition from social networks and other alternative media. This, of course, raises the problem of the sources of funding for the media and the economic model to be put in place for their benefit“.
The Beninese president thinks it is time for media professionals to reinvent themselves. Above all, explains the president, “in an increasingly harsh environment where, thanks to the explosion of social networks, anyone can discover their vocation as an informant or even a journalist, freeing themselves from social responsibility, ethical standards and the duty of proof that goes with it. So much so that here as elsewhere, there are no longer any emblematic or even legendary media that have disappeared or are threatened with bankruptcy because of the digital revolution.
“This freedom, we must preserve and protect it”
For the President of the Republic, freedom of the press is the right to say, write or broadcast what we want, but it is also and above all the duty to assume it and to answer for it. In his installation speech, Patrice Talon reaffirmed his commitment to the pluralism of opinions and their free expression. “This freedom,” says the president, “we must preserve and protect it. But we also have a duty to regulate it. This is the dual mission that our Constitution assigns to you. It is ungrateful, of course, but noble.”
“Mr. President, Councillors, As you take office, I would like to draw your attention to the plight of our media and appeal to your concern…. It is this commitment that will make it possible to initiate ethical awareness, to provide relevant responses to the issue of improving the living and working conditions of media professionals, and to lay the foundations for the emergence of major media organizations in Benin,” concluded Patrice Talon, who did not fail to greet the outgoing HAAC team.
Rémi Prosper Moretti was chosen by President Patrice Talon as the new HAAC President to replace Adam Boni Tessi. Franck Kpochémé, former president of the Union des professionnels des médias du Bénin (Upmb), was elected in the print media category. In the Audiovisual category, Armand Hounsou was elected and Cécile Ahoumènou received the approval of the technicians to sit on the HAAC.
On the government side, Rémy Prosper Moretti, Bastien Salami and Bilikissou Ali Machiffa have been appointed. Parliament has appointed Ali Camarou, Mariane Domingo and Fernand Gbaguidi. The quorum of the nine members is therefore reached.
In accordance with the provisions of articles 24, 142 and 143 of the Constitution, Haac’s tasks are to guarantee and ensure the freedom and protection of the press and all mass media in accordance with the law, or to ensure respect for information ethics and fair access to official media and communication for political parties, associations and citizens.
By Laurent Adjovi