During visits with journalists, students and government officials in Ndjamena, Chad, BBG Governor Kenneth Weinstein emphasized the key role that media freedom plays in a democracy. Weinstein’s May 4-5 trip coincided with the launch of a new BBG FM station in the capital and World Press Freedom Day.
In a give-and-take with 28 local journalists, Weinstein answered questions about the differences between Voice of America’s French to Africa programming and the Middle East Broadcasting Network’s Radio Sawa, the Arabic-language station that also has listeners in the region. Weinstein noted Chad’s important position in a region that faces many challenges – among them, environmental, economic and health issues. He emphasized that it is critical for people to speak honestly and freely about these challenges and to know about global events affecting Chad and its neighbors. Weinstein also had a discussion on similar topics with about 75 journalism students at the University of Ndjamena at Toukra.
Together with U.S. Ambassador to Chad James Knight, Weinstein met with Chad’s Minister of Communication, Hassan Sylla Bakari. Bakari said he was delighted that programming by VOA and Radio Sawa on 93.1 FM in Ndjamena have added more voices to the country’s media scene, and he indicated that choices in broadcast stations will benefit the people of Chad.