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Chad17 December 2003

Radio FM-Liberté allowed back on air

Radio FM-Liberté was allowed back on air on 17 December. The minister of public security and immigration Abdramane Moussa signed an order that authorised it to resume broadcasting.

The radio was shut down on 21 October for „illegal operation and deviant behaviour" after broadcasting an item that was highly critical of President Idriss Deby. One journalist accused the head of state of being a poor democrat and having brought in „predators, destroyers of the economy and professional killers who hold the power of life and death over other citizens".


23.10.2003

Radio FM-Liberté closed

Reporters Without Borders has protested the indefinite closure, on 21 October 2003, of the community radio station FM-Liberté by the Public Security Ministry for "illegal operation and deviant behaviour". This decision follows the broadcast of a report that was very critical of President Idriss Deby.

"The evolution of freedom of expression in Chad had been relatively positive in recent years. Unfortunately, we are compelled to note that certain subjects remain taboo, especially when the president and his entourage are involved. In spring 2003, two journalists spent two months in prison after criticising the head of state’s mother-in-law," said Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Robert Ménard. "This is not the first time that the country’s authorities have attacked FM-Liberté, which is known to have close ties to human rights organisations," added Robert Ménard.

FM-Liberté recently compared President Deby to Hissène Habré, the former Chadian dictator (1982-1990), and accused him of having "brought in predators, destroyers of the economy and professional killers who hold the power of life and death over other citizens." On 17 October, the radio station’s editor-in-chief, Dobian Assingar, was called to order by the High Council of Communications (Haut conseil de la communication) on order of Communication Minister Moctar Wawa Dahab. On 21 October, a Public Security Ministry decree stipulated that, "Radio FM-Liberté is closed from this day on, until further notice, for illegal operation and deviant behaviour."

The radio station has been subject to government pressure in the past due to the content of its programmes. During the 2001 presidential election, the station was ordered to stop broadcasting political debates. The following year, Radio FM-Liberté was suspended for three weeks for disrupting public order after reporting on a student demonstration in Cameroon.



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