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French journalist forced to leave country after authorities "definitively" withdraw her accreditation

(JED/IFEX) - The following is an abridged version of a JED press release:

JED expresses deep anger and indignation upon learning of the Chadian government's decision to "definitively" withdraw the accreditation of journalist Sonia Rolley, a correspondent with Agence France Presse (AFP) and Radio France International (RFI).

Without authorisation to work in Chad, on the morning of 20 March 2008, the French journalist had to leave behind her a country which now resembles a black hole of information. Independent media have ceased to exist and almost all Chadian journalists from the private press have either been forced into exile or into giving up their profession as a result of censorship, threats and violence, since rebel attacks occurred in early February.

For JED, withdrawing the accreditation of a journalist who has been working in a foreign country for nearly two years constitutes expulsion. This also translates into a serious obstacle to the free flow of information at national and international levels.

At a time when Chad is facing serious political challenges due to bad governance and a democratic deficit, President Idriss Deby Itno would undoubtedly like to keep witnesses away, particularly when they are journalists.

Consequently, JED appeals to the entire international community to condemn without reservation this threat to democracy and freedom of expression.

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