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How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

FEBRUARY 9, 2004

Posted: March 3, 2004

Tchanguis Vatankhah, Radio Brakos
Radio Brakos

Vatankhah, director of the privately owned Radio Brakos, which is based in the southern town of Moissala, was brutally assaulted by police officers at the station's offices. The officers then arrested and detained the journalist for 48 hours at the Moissala police station before releasing him without charge. Vatankhah was also severely beaten during his detention.

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 following Vatankhah's arrest.

The arrest apparently stemmed from a recent interview the journalist had conducted with an opposition politician from the l'Union Nationale pour le Développement et le Renouveau (National Union for Development and Renewal) party that was broadcast on Radio Brakos the week before. Local sources told CPJ that Vatankhah had also recently criticized local customs officials and an allegedly arbitrary arrest by police in Moissala. Dalissou accused Radio Brakos of being an "opposition radio," sources said.

On February 20, Vatankhah traveled to the capital, N'Djamena, for medical treatment. Journalists who met with him after his arrival told CPJ that Vatankhah suffers from severe respiratory problems and eye injuries due to physical assault.

Local journalists, including the Union of Private Radios in Chad, have protested Vatankhah's assault and detention and have called on the Chadian government to cover the cost of Vatankhah's medical care. Several government ministers and the High Council on Communications, an official media regulatory body, also criticized Dalissou's actions, saying the official has no jurisdiction over the media.

JULY 6, 2004
Posted: July 19, 2004

Mbainaye Betoubam, Ialtchad Presse
Abdelkérim Nassour, Ialtchad Presse
Hassane Boukar, Ialtchad Presse

Betoubam, Nassour, and Boukar, local correspondents for the Canadian-based monthly Ialtchad Presse, were arrested by members of the National Security Agency (ANS) in the capital, N'djaména. This came shortly after the first edition of the magazine was published, according to local journalists' organizations. The Chad Association of Private Press Editors, the Union of Private Radios in Chad, and the Chad Union of Journalists said the three were not brought before the public prosecutor until July 13.

CPJ sources said the three were released on July 15 but were charged with failing to take the necessary administrative steps to register the publication. Ialtchad Presse said it had followed all the necessary administrative procedures.

A July 7 editorial on the Ialtchad Presse Web site said that since the newspaper had been launched, its editorial teams in N'djaména and in Montreal, Canada, had received "threats and intimidation" from Chadian authorities, and that vendors of the newspaper had been harassed by security forces, especially in northern districts of N'djaména.