Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Freedom of expression and of the press is protected under the constitution, but government practices routinely place journalists at risk of suspension, detention, and legal and physical harassment for their work. Newspapers critical of the government circulate freely in the capital, N'Djamena, but their impact is very limited in the rest of the country where radio remains the most efficient medium of public information. The government's mistrust of prospective broadcasters seriously impairs the growth of private electronic media. But despite constant official scrutiny and high licensing fees for commercial radio, some stations continue to operate, and the number of stations run by nonprofit groups has reportedly increased. The High Council on Communication (HCC), despite having sole legal authority to enforce broadcasting rules, is often ignored by government ministries and officials who prefer to take direct actions against offending broadcasters. Harsh libel laws remain on the books and are widely invoked to inhibit press criticism of the elite; at least two journalists from the private weekly Notre Temps were charged with criminal libel during the year. The authorities also filed a complaint with the HCC against Radio FM Liberte for reporting on fast-spreading insecurity, only to shut down the station before the HCC could deliberate. While journalists' access to government-held information is severely restricted, there were fewer reports of arbitrary reprisals for publishing material on an active rebellion in the northern Tibesti region during the year. Meanwhile, Radio Brakos, which was closed down in 2002, was allowed to resume broadcasting. Television remains the exclusive domain of the state, largely because of the high cost and the likelihood of modest returns on operating a private television channel in this impoverished desert nation.