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Djibouti News Today
Human rights in Djibouti
In its 2011 Freedom in the World report, Freedom House ranked Djibouti as “Not Free”, a downgrading from its former status as “Partly Free”.
The US State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2019 points out that Djibouti’s significant human rights issues included: unlawful or arbitrary killings by government agents; arbitrary detention by government agents; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; unjustified arrests or prosecutions of journalists; criminal libel; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; significant acts of corruption; and violence against women and girls with inadequate government action for prosecution and accountability, including female genital mutilation/cutting. It states also that impunity was a problem, with the government seldom taking steps to identify and punish officials who committed abuses, whether in the security services or elsewhere in the government.
Freedom of the press in Djibouti
The country has one national newspaper called La Nation de Djibouti, which is published daily. It is also owned by the government along with the country’s only news agency L’Agence Djiboutienne d’Information. An opposition-backed newspaper, Le Renouveau, ceased operations in 2007 after publishing an article accusing President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh’s brother-in-law (the former governor of the Central Bank of Djibouti, Djama Haid) of accepting bribes.
There are also several weekly or monthly publications published by opposition parties, though they are often opinion and politically-based information rather than fact-based news. One example is L’Aurore; founded in 2015 it is published and heavily influenced by the USN, the main opposition coalition in Djibouti.
There is one independent radio station which reports uncensored news: La Voix de Djibouti. The station broadcasts in both French and Arabic, and was set up by the Djibouti diaspora in 2010. Although the station broadcasts from Belgium (both online and over AM radio), its employees are subject to Djibouti’s press laws while in Djibouti.