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Day of shutdown for Chadian media outlets in protest against violations of media freedom

A man reads a newspaper in the street in N'Djamena, Chad, 12 April 2016
A man reads a newspaper in the street in N'Djamena, Chad, 12 April 2016

ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 22 February 2018.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) supports the Chadian media outlets that stopped broadcasting and publishing for the entire day on 21 February 2018, in protest against the often violent harassment of journalists and recent closures of community radio stations.

Radio stations were silent and newspapers were missing from newsstands in response to a call by the Union of Chad Journalists (UJT) and other journalists' associations for a "Daywithout Press" to denounce the attacks on journalists and media by Chad's political police, called the National Security Agency (ANS), and the regular police. The UJT cited the case of Djimet Wiché, the publisher of the Alwihda Info news website, who has been the victim of threats and violence by the ANS and the police twice in recent weeks.

"We support this protest by the Chadian media, for whom silence has become the only means left for drawing attention to the very difficult conditions in which journalists have to work," RSF said. "Journalists are too often targeted by the security forces, who usually enjoy complete impunity. It is time the authorities realized that the role played by journalists is essential for a democratic society to function properly. The authorities should also remember that it is their duty to guarantee journalists' safety."

UJT president Larmée Belrangar said there was no dialogue between the authorities and the various press organizations. "We have tried repeatedly to talk with the authorities but there is no compromise", Belrangar said. Chadian journalists are often arrested in connection with the articles they write. Investigative reporting about impunity and criticism of President Idriss Déby Itno are not tolerated.

Chad is ranked 121st out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

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