Ismaïl Omar GUELLEH

27 novembre 1947

Président de Djibouti depuis le 8 mai 1999 

Prédateur depuis son arrivée au pouvoir

 Djibouti, 176e/180 au Classement mondial de la liberté de la presse 2021

Dear [Name of Candidate],

I am writing to ask you what you plan to do to defend the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and the fundamental rights of journalists to practice their profession freely in what has become an increasingly hostile environment for information and news providers.

The United States, which enshrines press freedom in the First Amendment of its Constitution, is currently witnessing a drastic decline in media freedom. On June 28, one of the most horrific attacks on press freedom in the United States occurred when five employees, including four reporters, were killed at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. According to the US Press Freedom Tracker, which comprehensively documents press freedom violations in the US committed by national, state, and local authorities as well as private individuals, 33 journalists were arrested, 43 were physically attacked, and 15 seizures of journalists’ equipment occurred in 2017. In one of these incidents, Rep. Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a Guardian journalist the night before his state’s election. While covering the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, journalists were impersonated on social media, impeding their ability to accurately investigate the facts and disseminate information which could be vital to preventing a similar tragedy. This hostility towards the press not only risks compromising the American public’s right to be informed through journalists’ reporting, but can also degrade the public’s trust in the media itself.

This is not a partisan issue; it is a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics. Journalism is at the crux of our democracy, and communities everywhere rely on journalists to provide them with information that is essential to their daily decision-making processes. It was local investigative journalist Curt Guyette who broke the story about Flint, Michigan’s lack of access to clean water in 2014, prompting years of class-action lawsuits, protests, and subsequent federal assistance to the city in order to try to resolve the crisis. Reporters Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor, and Ronan Farrow publicized sexual assault allegations against influential Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017, leading to the ubiquitous and powerful #MeToo movement which brought decades of sexual abuse and harassment across multiple industries to light.

Yet freedom of the press in the US is currently in dire need of congressional support. It is our civic duty as one of the world’s leading democracies to uphold principles that support and protect the rights of journalists so that they may hold those in power accountable and ensure an informed and engaged community.

If you are elected, what do you plan to do to protect this utterly essential component of our democracy? What are your plans to protect the public’s right to be informed through a free and independent press?

[Your name]
Hello, my name is _______ and I am from [city, state].

I’m calling to let you know that [candidate/representative]'s stance on freedom of the press is extremely important in my decision to vote. I feel that this is not a partisan issue, but a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics.

I have become increasingly concerned with the growing climate of hostility for journalists in this country, and I would like for [candidate/representative] to publicly address what they will do to defend press freedom if [he/she] is elected.

Thank you.
Freedom of the press is suffering in the US. @[yourcandidate] if you are elected to serve in Congress, what are your plans to protect journalists and our right to be informed? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

Democracy depends on a free and independent press and its ability to hold those in power accountable. [@yourcandidate] will you take measures to protect journalism and the First Amendment? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

In June, four reporters were murdered in an appalling targeted attack on the Capital Gazette and freedom of the press. [@yourcandidate] what will you do to address the growing threat to journalists in this country? #DefendPressFreedom

Press freedom is in steady decline in the US. I want my representative to defend the work of journalists as well as my right to be informed. [@yourcandidate] if you are elected what will you do to protect a free press? #DefendPressFreedom
Journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. And yet in the US, attacks on journalists are becoming more common, undermining the media's role and creating opportunities for government overreach, the erosion of press freedom, and impeding our right to be informed. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join me at

A free press is essential to our democracy. Communities everywhere rely on journalists to report on our government’s actions and hold public figures accountable, providing us with the information we need to make decisions every day. And yet physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists in the US are increasing at an astonishing rate. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. You should too. Read more at

Press freedom is declining in the US at an alarming rate. Physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists have increased drastically in the last two years. As the US midterm elections approach, we must remind our congressional candidates that journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. I’m contacting my representatives and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join in and help me spread the word at


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    MODE DE PRÉDATION : dictature totalitaire

    Le régime djiboutien exerce un contrôle sans merci sur la liberté d’informer. Dans ce petit État situé dans la corne de l’Afrique, seule une poignée de médias d’Etat chargés de relayer la propagande et la communication du gouvernement sont autorisés à exercer. Les autres sont condamnés à la clandestinité, à l’exil ou à la répression. L’arsenal de prédation déployé pour empêcher l'avènement du journalisme indépendant est très important : traque des sources d’information et des journalistes qui travaillent pour des médias étrangers, arrestations, perquisitions, harcèlement judiciaire, menaces, surveillance, bridage volontaire d’internet, brouillage des radios, censure des sites d'information… Interrogé en 2020 par Jeune Afrique sur l’absence totale de médias indépendants dans son pays, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh avait prétexté des coûts élevés et un “marché réduit”. En Afrique, les Seychelles, qui comptent dix fois moins d'habitants qu’à Djibouti, comptent une télévision, deux radios et trois journaux privés. Le blocage est plus politique qu’économique. La commission chargée d’étudier les demandes d'agréments des médias n’a jamais été mise sur pied alors qu’elle est prévue par la loi relative à la liberté de la communication, un texte qui date de 1992. Ce dernier constitue lui-même une sérieuse entrave à la liberté d’informer avec, entre autres, des peines de prison pour les délits de presse et des contraintes d'âge et de nationalité pour créer un média.

    CIBLES DE PRÉDILECTION : toutes les voix critiques

    Les journalistes qui donnent des informations aux médias étrangers et les correspondants des médias de La Voix de Djibouti, un groupe de presse en exil mais travaillant avec des sources et des reporters locaux sont systématiquement traqués et surveillés, et régulièrement arrêtés.

    DISCOURS OFFICIEL : la langue de bois

    “Les correspondants dont vous parlez ne sont pas des journalistes déclarés, mais des quidams parfois à peine alphabétisés qui utilisent cette couverture. Au demeurant, nous n’avons emprisonné personne.”  (Ismäil Omar Guelleh à propos des journalistes de La Voix de Djibouti, dans une interview accordée à Jeune Afrique, novembre 2020.)