A TV channel in Ivory Coast has apologised for airing a show in which a convicted rapist used a mannequin to show how he assaulted his victims.
The programme, broadcast at prime time on Monday by the private Nouvelle Chaine Ivorienne (NCI) channel, provoked nationwide condemnation and prompted 30,000 people to sign a petition demanding that its presenting team be punished.
In the segment, host Yves de Mbella invited the guest to make the demonstration, helping him adjust the dummy and asking him to explain how he selected those he attacked.
The presenter asked the man whether his victims “enjoyed it” and whether he preferred them to be “slim or fat”.
“Please tell me I’m dreaming,” Priss’K, an Ivorian rapper, wrote on Facebook.
She added: “It’s disgusting, unacceptable, disrespectful, especially towards women.
“Rape is so degrading and dehumanising for the victim.”
Ivory Coast‘s independent communications council said the segment used obscene language, condoned rape and attacked the dignity of women, announcing Mr de Mbella’s suspension for 30 days.
The NCI channel apologised for its broadcast and cancelled the show’s last episode, which had been scheduled for Friday.
Mr de Mbella said he “made an error” and was “sincerely sorry to have shocked everyone while trying to raise awareness”.
“I’m also sorry for everything that was said or done during that sequence of the programme yesterday that hurt,” he wrote on Facebook.
“I beg for forgiveness from all victims of rape.”
Mr de Mbella is scheduled to host the Miss Ivory Coast pageant on Saturday.
The contest’s sponsor, telecommunications operator MTN, did not say whether he would be replaced but pledged to take firm measures in response to the segment.