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Press freedom reports

The International Press Institute’s 2006 World Press Freedom Review notes that “the [Djibouti] constitution provides for freedom of the media, but in reality [this] freedom is curbed by a number of instruments. Opposition politicians critical of the government have over the years been arrested, and the media outlet carrying the message has seen its permit revoked. Respect for human rights is not always upheld; even if there have been some improvements over the years. Reports of arbitrary detention by police and the military have surfaced from time to time. The country keeps a large security apparatus when viewed against the population size.”

Reporters Without Borders classifies the media as being in a “difficult situation.” Djibouti ranks 132nd out of 169 in RSF's 2007 Press Freedom Index.

The 2006 Map of Press Freedom by Freedom House notes that “the 1992 constitution affords a measure of protection to the media, but the government has often been prepared to strip away this protection in its efforts to censor the independent press."

The only criticism of the government comes from two weekly newspapers, Le Renouveau and La Republique, Djibouti’s only privately-owned domestic media outlets, both owned by opposition political parties. Nevertheless, reporters for these newspapers are also prone to self-censorship, particularly on sensitive issues such as human rights, the army, the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy party, and French financial aid. Daher Ahmed Farah, the editor in chief of Le Renouveau, has repeatedly been tried and jailed for articles addressing these issues.

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