Why is there a news media blackout about political repression in Djibouti?

Guest Post by Abdourahman Waberi, Ali Deberkale and Dimitri Verdonck

On the eve of the legislative election of February 22, 2013, in the Republic of Djibouti, Hafez Mohamed Hassan, a 14-year-old schoolboy, was shot dead by the secret service of President Ismaël Omar Guelleh’s regime while he was taking part in a demonstration organized by a group of teenagers protesting the lack of sports facilities in their region of Obock. This is what happens when Djibouti is preparing for an election: Bullets and blood are meted out for those who demand free, transparent, and fair elections. The regime has had a monopoly on local media for the past 36 years, and the French media could not be bothered to deal with the undeniable question of repression in its former colony where France, in fact, retains its largest foreign military base. Continue reading