Tuesday , 5 July 2022
This communication operation was deemed to help put up a decent profile. The President of the Republic settled the issue regarding the couple of journalists held in custody, namely by asking his Minister of State to withdraw the complaint for slandering held against Jean Luc Rahaga and Didier Ramanoelina who were meanwhile awaiting their trial and the court's verdict. Without denying tribute to Hery Rajaonarimampianina who took a stand against the imprisonment of journalists, the ruling power has given in to the rising general mobilization and to a potentially looming dangerous political capital made out this issue.

Prison sentence prior to forgiveness, the ruling power’ strange attitude towards reporters

As a matter of coincidence, the dispute Madagascar Matin against Rivo Rakotovao went into court while the national seminar on the draft of the Communication Code was developing. The President of the Republic was very well informed of the talks that took place in Antsirabe. He decided to make a timely request to his State Minister in charge of the Infrastructure Management Department so his complaint against Jean Luc Rahaga, editor of the Madagascar Matin daily newspaper, and Didier Ramanoelina, editor in chief of the same group, be released. “The Press is free in this country, from time to time even dissolutely free” said Hery Rajaonarimampianina. “Although the expression of ideas may not suffer any interference, there are limits,” he has tempered. According to the Head of State, “the disclosure of information potentially likely to arouse confrontation and hatred must be handled with great care. I’m sorry for the eventual detentions, but this sunshine law exists as matter of face. Whenever applied in terms of counterweight to slandering, this law requires the defendant to be held in custody” he explained. By the way, so many evidences of leniency at a time towards journalists happen to be unparalleled with enough to deserve to be highlighted. President Rajaonarimampianina took a crystal clear stand on the issue and actually left no ground for speculation about it: “Sanctions proved necessary, but the punishment out of proportion.” He equally measured the reaction of his minister, friend and party leader, and met it with philosophic understanding. “Mr. Minister is a human, as such endowed with human reaction. So I asked him to make a human gesture and withdraw his complaint” concluded the President. The plaintiff, often unofficially considered as the “Vice President of Madagascar” was however certainly not in for leaving all of the glory to the Head of State. The first openly arrogant and vindictive statement from a hugely dishonored figure followed by a statement reflecting an lordly mercy towards repenting foes kneeling for forgiveness. As a recall, not one but three ministers were standing as plaintiffs, even though only one of them was dearly targeted by the press. “We complained because it is our lawful right to do so,” justified Rivo Rakotovao, speaking for the Environment Department Minister Anthelme Ramparany and for the Trade Minister Narson Rafidimanana. Besides, the State Minister and his two colleagues clearly outlined that their withdrawal of their complaint was in no way an evidence of allegiance to the presidential will. Friends, colleagues and parents lowly begged them and nobody else to see to the release of the most famous short term prisoners of Madagascar. “The head of the journalists’ union called us, he apologized and acknowledged the fault” declared Rivo Rakotovao in triumph. “Their editor in chief saw it coming” he said, overjoyed by the discomfort created into the opposing side, and by the fact that “for once, the underdog remained under.” Didier Ramanoelina was dismissed even before the beginning of the trial. “His parents came to ask for forgiveness,” sounded the argument which finally appeased the almighty Minister of State.