Ordering its closure on 30 August, the High Authority for Media and Broadcasting (HAMA) said “no fact or material evidence” justified the newspaper’s claim that Qatar and Sudan were linked to rebels operating in northern Chad.
The decision followed complaints by the Qatari and Sudanese embassies – which the foreign ministry passed on to the HAMA – about an analytical article headlined “Who is behind the Chadian rebel forces in the north?”.
The article argued that Sudan’s policy of cooperation with Chad was contradictory, and it referred to the accusations of “destabilization attempts” that are often levelled against Qatar, including by the Chadian authorities themselves. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were recently severed for a year, until February 2018.
“We call on the media regulatory authority to rescind this closure, which is disproportionate and arbitrary,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “The HAMA’s role is to monitor respect for journalistic ethics, not to issue judgments about opinions. Political analysis is an essential element of journalism. If persons or governments think they have been defamed, legal recourse is available to them, as is the right to have a response published.”
Chad is ranked 123st out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.