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)
- Chad’s constitution allows for freedom of expression, but authorities have routinely used threats and legal provisions to censor critical reporting.
- In response to a February 2008 coup attempt, the government imposed a new press law, Decree No. 5, which increased the maximum penalty for false news and defamation to three years in prison, and the maximum penalty for insulting the president to five years. It also requires permission from both the prosecutor’s office and the High Council of Communication (HCC), Chad’s media regulatory body, to establish a newspaper; previously it was only necessary to register with the Ministry of Commerce. Separately, the HCC banned reporting on the activities of rebels and any other information that could harm national unity.
- The International Federation of Journalists reported that the repressive media environment caused at least 10 journalists to go into hiding or flee the country. On March 20, the government revoked the accreditation of a French correspondent with Radio France Internationale and Agence France-Presse, further limiting the flow of information out of the country.
- Journalists faced harassment and arrest during the year for expressing criticism of the government. Among other cases, security forces in February attempted to arrest the editors of the independent newspapers Le Temps and Le Moustick, although they had both already fled the country. Security forces closed the radio station FM Liberte and arrested manager Djekourninga Kaotar Lazare for disseminating false information following the station’s broadcast of criticism of a government fee for obtaining identity documents. He was held for two days and then released, and the station was allowed to broadcast again on May 27.
- Private newspapers circulate freely in the capital, but they have little impact on the largely rural and illiterate population. The only television station is state owned. Radio is the primary means of mass communication, and station licenses are granted by the HCC, which is considered to be greatly influenced by the government. There are over a dozen private and community-run stations on the air.
- There are no reports that the government restricts internet access, but the internet infrastructure remains government owned, and less than 1 percent of the population had access to this resource in 2008.