Central African Republic

Central African Republic

Murders of journalists go unpunished

The environment for media personnel has not improved in the CAR, and its rise in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index is due solely to other countries falling and to the fact that no journalist was murdered in 2019, unlike in 2018. As the CAR struggles to emerge from the violence of a civil war in which newspaper offices were ransacked and radio stations were destroyed, attacks on the media continue, journalists are still caught between the various warring parties and still in danger, and impunity for crimes of violence against them is total. 
 
Those responsible for the murders of three Russian journalists in July 2018, after the journalists arrived in the CAR to investigate the presence of Russian mercenaries, have not been identified. A great deal of disturbing evidence discredits the official version that they were killed in the course of being robbed. No hypothesis can be ruled out and only an independent international investigation, which RSF has requested, would be able to provide credible answers. The murders of Central African journalists Elisabeth Blanche Olofio, Désiré Luc Sayenga and René Padou, who were killed in the course of their work at the height of the crisis in 2014, and French photographer Camille Lepage, who was killed the same year, are still unpunished. Six years after Lepage’s murder, RSF continues to request a field investigation, including a reenactment of the murder at the scene. 
 
Much of the country is not controlled by the state and the authorities are increasingly intolerant of criticism. Journalists who interview the various parties to the conflict are often treated as spies or as the accomplices of armed groups, and are often the targets of violence. This was seen again in 2019 when a policeman fired at a journalist in Bouar and violence was used to detain two French reporters in Bangui. The vulnerable and easily influenced print media publish little more than editorials, rumours and smear campaigns. Several newspapers were sanctioned in 2019. Backed by Switzerland’s Fondation Hirondelle, Radio Ndeke Luka is one of the few media outlets providing properly sourced reporting in a landscape scarred by years of conflict.

132
in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index

Ranking

+13

145 in 2019

Global score

-4.40

47.27 in 2019

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2020
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2020
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2020
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