On the Facebook page of one of Chad’s leading media, Tchadinfos.com, is a note titled “information” printed in red. The note carries a message addressed to its audience, apologising for the blackout on Monday and Tuesday. The blackout is in solidarity with other pressmen and jailed journalist, Eric Ngarlem Toldé.
Toldé, a blogger and journalist with print media, Abba Garde, received a summons from the National Directorate of Judicial Research on May 3. He was finally jailed on May 6, three days after he took part in activities marking World Press Freedom Day.
Although it is unclear why he was arrested, colleagues say his arrest may be linked to comments he made on the current fuel crisis the country is facing. They also say the complaint came from the Prime Minister in transition, Saleh Kebzabo.
In a statement issued on Sunday by the Chadian Employers Network (PPT), all radio and newspapers will stop activities to denounce the shortage of gas and fuel and push for the immediate release of Eric Ngarlem Toldé.
According to Reporters without Borders, Chad remains one of the most dangerous zones to practice journalism in. It is ranked 109 out of 180. The country is currently going through a transitional government after its former president, Idriss Derby, died in 2021.
For the past three years, Chad has been going through fuel shortages which were provoked by an overhaul in the N’Djamena refinery.
Chad’s Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energy on May 4 said the government was doing everything to end the current fuel crisis. He apologised to the population, health institutions, and companies for any inconvenience caused.
“The fuel crisis is due to the three-year maintenance of the Djarmaya refinery, which led to a temporary suspension of fuel delivery, including gasoline and diesel,” said Minister Djerassem Le Bemadjiel.
Although he promised the government was addressing the situation, the population is still in great need.
Hundreds of persons are spotted each morning at petrol stations to buy the available fuel. Workers are not also happy,
“This two-day disengagement is also the expression of the discontent and desolation of employers in the face of the persistent shortage of fuel and gas,” said the press statement from media employers.
Media employers will be adding their voices to the Union of Private Radio of Chad, the Teachers’ Union of Chad, and the Independent Confederation of Trade Unions of Chad to protest.
Chad has gone through fuel and gas shortages in December 2021 and April 2022.
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