Index 2024
161/ 180
Score : 30.14
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
162/ 180
Score : 35.87
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

The government led by President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, who was reelected for a fifth term in 2021, deploys a draconian arsenal that includes judicial harassment, illegal searches, attacks and arrests, causing real terror to reign over the media.

Media landscape

Djibouti’s media landscape is completely locked down and is almost exclusively limited to state-owned media, such as the newspaper La Nation, the Djiboutian news agency ADI and the radio and TV broadcaster RTD. No independent media outlet is based in the country. Like La Voix de Djibouti (LVD), a free weekly published in French, radio LVD operates in exile from Paris, but its airwaves are routinely jammed and its website blocked by the authorities. The government deliberately slows down the Internet to restrict access to social media, which are among the few places for free expression and access to information. 

Political context

The Djiboutian regime exercises total control over freedom of information. State owned media and regulatory authorities are under the command of the government. The 1992 Constitution, the first since independence, proclaimed political pluralism but, in practice, the one-party system and single-mindedness prevail. Critical public debate is impossible and no media outlet would be authorised to disseminate it.

Legal framework

The commission responsible for examining requests for approval of broadcast media outlets has never been set up, even though it has been planned, for 30 years, by a provision in the law on freedom of communication. This law is itself a major obstacle to press freedom because it also provides for jail terms for media offences and imposes age and nationality restrictions to launch a media outlet.

Economic context

During an interview in 2020, the president cited the small advertising market in Djibouti, a small country in the Horn of Africa with just 1 million inhabitants, to justify the absence of independent media. In reality, their absence is more political than economic. The state media are financed by the government. The accreditation system for international correspondents and the few Somali media outlets is not transparent and is often based on blackmail. 

Sociocultural context

Journalists must be mindful of ethnic and clan-based sensitivities in Djibouti to avoid exposing themselves to additional pressure. In this Muslim country, religion, the status of women and subjects relating to sexual orientation are particularly taboo and are subject to censorship and self-censorship.


Journalists who try to report independently live in a climate of permanent insecurity, as they are put under surveillance, attacked, threatened, and sometimes detained. Two journalists reporting for the Paris-based exile media LVD were detained in late 2022 and early 2023, confirming the trend in recent years of arbitrary arrests of journalists, often to dissuade them from continuing their reporting.