State of the media



Djiboutian media is published and broadcast in French, Somali and Afar. The only Arabic publication is the mouthpiece of the ruling party and appears irregularly. The government also owns national television and radio. Journalists working for the independent press, owned by the opposition, are regularly harassed, convicted and jailed for their reporting. Furthermore, journalists suffer from poor pay and a lack of adequate training.

Print press
The government owns the principal newspaper, La Nation. Other newspapers are published by the opposition parties. Until recently, private newspapers and other publications were generally allowed to circulate freely, although journalists routinely exercise self-censorship. The official media support the government.

Audiovisual media
The audiovisual sector is controlled by the government. Radiodiffusion-Television operates a national television channel and Radio Djibouti. Djibouti has no private broadcasters. The possession of satellite dishes is allowed but is closely monitored by the authorities.

Online media
The government owns the only Internet service provider. Internet access is very low: an estimated 9,000 Djiboutians have access to the Internet. Furthermore, all electronic media are closely monitored, although the government is not known to censor or restrict internet access.

News agencies
Agence Djiboutienne d'Information was founded in 1978. It is part of the Ministry of Communication.

Media organizations
There are no media organizations as such. There are, however, several human rights organizations, such as the Ligue Djiboutienne des Droits Humains, and the Association pour le Respect des Droits de l’Homme a Djibouti.

Media policies
Although the constitution provides for press freedom, the government periodically suspends constitutional rights in order to silence opposition parties. Free speech is restricted through defamation clauses and the prohibition of the dissemination of "false information." These vague provisions allow for a wide interpretation. The existing independent media practice self-censorship with regard to sensitive topics such as human rights and the army. The state has a monopoly on broadcasting. When opposition parties demanded to be allowed to establish a radio station, the government-controlled La Nation commented that Djiboutians should “give up the pernicious idea of a banal imitation of western countries as regards press freedom," adding that the public’s need for news would be met by the state radio and TV, La Nation and the government gazette.

Media developments and trends
Reporters Without Borders notes an increase in authoritarian tendencies in Djibouti. In particular, the harassment of the sole opposition newspaper, Le Renouveau Djiboutien, is seen as a serious impairment of press freedom in Djibouti. The paper has not been able to publish since May 13, 2007. In fact, the only newspapers still being published in Djibouti are the government-run La Nation and the Arabic-language Al-Qarn, which is the mouthpiece of the ruling Popular Rally for Progress (RPP).