Located in Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central the African Republic (CAR) has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960 and is one of the least-developed countries in the world. The former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became the Central African Republic upon independence in 1960.
Rebel leader Michel DJOTODIA assumed the presidency after his largely Muslim Seleka rebels swept everything in its path. But there was instant backlash as the anti-Baleka forces unleashed reprisals against the Muslim minority, forcing President Djotodia, himself a muslim, to cede power in a UN-brokered arrangement that led to the establishment of a National Transitional Council (CNT). In January 2014, the CNT elected Catherine SAMBA-PANZA as interim president; new general elections are scheduled for October 2015. (World Factbook)
President: Catherine SAMBA-PANZA (Interim President )
Official Language: French (official)
Population: 4.616 million (2013) World Bank
National Anthem: La Renaissance
Media and Freedom of expression landscape in Central African Republic
Freedom of expression is limited in CAR. The 2005 constitution provides for freedom of the press, though authorities determine the extent to which this right is exercised. Journalists in the country face intimidation, harassment and attacks from state and non-state officials. Reporting on sensitive issues such as official corruption and rebel activity is limited in the quest to ensure “national stability”. A 2004 press law that went into effect in 2005 abolished imprisonment for many press offenses, such as libel and slander, but criminal penalties remain for some defamation charges, incitement of ethnic or religious hatred, and the publication or broadcast of false information that could “disturb the peace.” According to IREX, a 2009 court order sought to decriminalize a number of these offenses.
The High Council for Communications tasked with providing licences and promoting press freedom in the country, is nominally independent, but seems to be controlled by the government in practice. Journalists continue to face harassments and threats from authorities thus leading to self-censorship. Most of these perpetrators are left unpunished. Read more
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