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Chadian editor accused of "inciting hatred", blogger in Senegal expelled

Reporters Without Borders condemns the unprecedented wave of arrests and persecution of bloggers and journalists that the Chadian authorities have been orchestrating for the past few weeks.

The arrests of the blogger Jean Etienne Laokolé on 22 March and the journalist Eric Topona, the general secretary of the Union of Chadian Journalists (UJT), on 6 May – both of whom are still held – have been followed by that of Moussaye Avenir de la Tchiré, the managing editor of the newspaper Abba Garde and UJT treasurer.

Arrested on the evening of 7 May, De la Tchiré is reportedly accused of “inciting hatred and a popular uprising.”

At the same time, the Chadian authorities are seeking the extradition of Makaila Nguebla, a Chadian blogger who fled to the Senegalese capital of Dakar, from where he was expelled to Guinea-Conakry on the night of 7 May.

“We can no longer talk of isolated arrests,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This is a major crackdown on the independent and opposition media. We are also appalled by Senegal's failure to protect Nguebla by allowing him to stay. Expelling him was disgraceful. We urge the Guinean authorities not to extradite him back to Chad, or else they will be accomplices to a violation of freedom of information.

“Why is the Chadian government targeting the media? Does it accuse them of being accomplices to the recently thwarted coup d'état? Was the recent ministerial reshuffle carried out in order to prepare for this offensive against troublesome individuals, above all news providers?

“The government cannot blame the recent political unrest in Chad on the media. Under Chad's constitution, which guarantees media freedom, we call on the government to free the detained journalists and bloggers immediately and unconditionally and to stop hounding its critics.”

Last year already saw an increase in acts of intimidation against independent and opposition journalists in Chad.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Senegal: Chadian blogger expelled

    Makaila Nguebla told Human Rights Watch that he was told to report to the Senegalese intelligence agency (Direction de la surveillance du territoire, DST) on the morning of May 7, where officers informed him that he was suspected of inciting Chadians to overthrow President Idriss Déby Itno. His blog that day had criticized the Chadian government for alleged arbitrary arrests and persecution of the opposition. “Idriss Déby must resign” he concluded.

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