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Chadian press faces crackdown

©

Latest update : 2008-03-17

France 24's special correspondent in Chad, Virginie Herz, takes a look at how local media are dealing with the increased pressure brought upon them following December's coup attempt.

Read the notebook by our special correspondent in Chad, Virginie Herz. Click on the links on the right of the notebook to watch our video reports.

 

For over a month, Chadian media has been muffled by widespread censorship, as many private radios stopped broadcasting news live and several newspapers closed down.


But as the state of emergency ends on Sunday, journalists are meeting once again. But now, journalists know they will have to work with a law even more severe than the previous ones.

"An insult to the Head of State was not a crime before. But now, almost any article can be used to prove you have been offending in one way or the other. That is where the danger lies," said Gata Noer, Director of Chad's weekly "l'Observateur."

 

"We have been asked not to defame military personal, for example. But  they are the biggest offenders. In just a few minutes time, they can kidnap you in broad daylight. That's when you are a simple citizen... so imagine if you are a journalist," said Journalist Mbanga Ngandjibaye.

 

There's another problem for journalists : no one wants to be interviewed.

"Either they will ask for anonymity, or they won't speak at all. They say, we don't know anything. Even walls here can speak volumes " said Rendodjo Em-A Moudona.

"People are now more afraid of the secret police than before, because the government has raised the number of such police," said Ngandjibaye.

Despite such fears, the journalists will be covering political arrests and crime organised by the state and are eager to see how far the Chadian law goes to protect or punish journalists.
 

Date created : 2008-03-17

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