- The director of the privately owned Chadian 'Radio Brakos', Vatankhah Tchanguis is reported to be hospitalised and in a "critical condition" after being ill-treated while in arrest. Mr Tchanguis was arrested after airing an interview with a Chadian opposition leader, criticising the N'djamena government.
According to reports from the Kinshasa-based media watchdog Journaliste en danger (JED), Mr Tchanguis on 9 February was "arrested and severely beaten by order of the Bahr police chief." The journalist was released 48 hours later.
JED President M'Baya Tshimanga today reports that the Chadian radio director endured serious injuries while in arrest. Mr Tchanguis is reportedly "in critical condition and requires urgent medical attention," the JED leader says.
According to information received by the watchdog group and confirmed by the Chadian Union of Private Radio Stations (Union des radios privées du Tchad), Mr Tchanguis's arrest followed the airing by 'Radio Brakos' of an interview with a Chadian opposition figure.
'Radio Brakos' is a private station based in Moissala, a town located close to the border of the Central African Republic, some 600 kilometres from the Chadian capital, N'djamena. The area had recently been influenced by the conflict in the neighbour country and reportedly was the base of several militias.
JED, which overseas press freedom violations in the entire region of Central Africa, today announced its protest against the ill-treatment of Mr Tchanguis. In a recent protest letter to the Chadian Interior and Security Minister, JED "condemned the arrest and assault on Mr Tchanguis." The group noted that "nothing can justify the ill-treatment of a journalist because of his opinions or work," and described the police action as "practices from another era that bring shame on Chad and Africa."
The Kinshasa-based group called on the Chadian government to "respect its national and international commitments regarding human rights in general and press freedom in particular by publicly condemning this attack."
JED further urged the Chadian High Council on Communications (Haut Conseil de la Communication, HCC) to "do everything possible to ensure the perpetrators of this attack are severely punished." Should no action be taken, JED warned that it would "view this arrest as both a deliberate attempt by the Chadian authorities to silence a journalist and media outlet that are bothersome because of their professionalism and a clear attack on free expression."
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