MAY 19, 2005
Updated: September 8, 2005
The High Council of Communication (HCC), an official media regulatory body, suspended the broadcasting license of privately owned Radio Brakos, which is based in the southern town of Moissala. According to a press release issued by the radio station, the HCC said the suspension was due to “recurring conflicts between Radio Brakos and administrative and military authorities.”
The HCC’s decision to suspend the station’s license followed a complaint from a local traditional leader, Philipe Gozo, whom Radio Brakos had accused on-air of pocketing money meant for a development project, according to Zara Yacoub, head of Chad’s Union of Private Radio Stations. The union protested the station’s suspension.
Earlier in May, a local military commander had threatened Tchanguis Vatankhah, director of Radio Brakos, according to a separate press release issued by the station. Yacoub told CPJ that the threat was in retaliation for reports aired by Radio Brakos that had criticized the commander.
It was not the first time Vatankhah had been the target of local authorities. In February 2004, police officers repeatedly and brutally assaulted the station director, and detained him for 48 hours without charge. According to local sources, Vatankhah’s arrest was carried out on the orders of local Prefect Bouba Dalissou, who also ordered the radio station closed for three days.
On August 23, the HCC lifted the ban on the radio station. Radio Brakos resumed broadcasts soon afterwards, after participating in a weeklong news blackout organized by Chadian media organizations to protest the imprisonment of four local journalists on charges relating to their work. However, the station did not immediately restore some regular programs, including news commentary, according to a CPJ source.