05.03.2008 General News

IFJ Calls on Chadian government to end "Media Crackdown"

By Accra Mail
Listen to article

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on the government of Chad to end the increasing pressure on the media after President Idriss Deby Itno signed a decree increasing jail terms for media offences.

"The situation in Chad is chaotic as government control of the media and its intimidation tactics have forced the few independent journalists remaining there into hiding," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office.

"We call on the government of Chad to put an end to this new crackdown on the media and end the criminalization of press offences," The IFJ said in a statement received in Accra.

President Deby Itno signed a decree on February 21 to harden the law on the media, increasing jail terms for press libel and increasing government censorship.

A state of emergency declared on 15 February already restricts media coverage and says that private newspapers are subject to preliminary approval by government officials before publication.

The state of emergency was extended for 15 more days on Friday by the national assembly.

IFJ said after the fighting in the capital city N'Djamena early February at least 10 journalists and media directors fled the country in fear for their lives. Others are in hiding after government forces searched their houses.

It said in protest against the draconian measures, the major independent newspapers had suspended publication about two weeks ago, adding that some radio stations had followed suit and stopped broadcasting news.

ModernGhana Links