Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Chad2 February 2007

Community radio journalist held for past two days by gendarmes in southern town

Reporters Without Borders today called for the release of journalist and human rights activist Marcel Ngargoto, who has been held by gendarmes in the southern town of Moissala since 31 January. Ngargoto works for Radio Brakoss, a Moissala-based community radio. He is also secretary-general of Human Rights Without Borders (DHSF).

“The Moissala authorities are exploiting a state of emergency for their own ends,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This is not Radio Brakoss’s first run-in with them, and they are using the resumption of fighting to punish those who annoy them. They have no grounds for claiming that Ngargoto poses a potential danger to the nation. This kind of behaviour just exacerbates tension between the authorities and the population.”

Ngargoto has been held at the headquarters of the Moissala gendarmerie since the morning of 31 January without being formally notified of any charges. DHSF president Deuzoumbé Passalet said the local authorities accuse him of a lack of tact in the way he reports “sensitive news liable to endanger national cohesion.”

Under a state of emergency that was proclaimed in November following intercommunal violence and fighting between government troops and rebels in the eastern provinces, the print media are subject to strict supervision by a censorship office, while radio stations are banned from covering sensitive subjects.

Aside from the pro-government daily Le Progrès, the N’Djamena newspapers have been appearing with many of their articles removed. This has affected their earnings and they are running out of money. Ngargoto’s arrest is the first act of overt coercion towards Chad’s privately-owned radio stations even if they have been under close surveillance.

Iranian political refugee Tchanguiz Vatankhah had to resign last year as Radio Brakoss’s director and promise to stop meddling in Chadian affairs after being arrested twice and harassed for months by the government.

In this country
28 March - Chad
N’Djamena press reappears for first time since state of emergency proclaimed
20 March - Chad
Dismay at government’s decision to withdraw French reporter’s accreditation
27 February - Chad
Adoption of new press law by decree called “unacceptable imposition”
22 February - Chad
Disastrous plight of independent media under state of emergency deplored
15 February - Chad/Sudan
Privately-owned press caught up in a proxy war

in the annual report
Chad - Annual Report 2008
Chad - Annual Report 2007
Chad - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives

18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election

Sign the petitions
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists