Communication across Chad's troubled regional boundaries was difficult in the late 1980s. Even telephone service was erratic and subject to frequent interruption. Media development had been slowed by security problems, infrastructural weakness, and general economic disarray. During the 1980s, some UN assistance was earmarked for improving print and broadcast media, but in a few cases, damaged equipment was destroyed as soon as it was repaired, and in general progress was slow.
In 1988 Chad's only radio station, Radiodiffusion Nationale Tchadienne (RNT), was able to reach the entire country through transmitters located at N'Djamena, Sarh, Moundou, and Abéché. RNT's Voix de la unité et du progrès (Voice of Unity and Progress) broadcast news in French three times a day, as well as a variety of programs in Chadian Arabic and several local languages. Estimates of the number of radio receivers operating in Chad in the late 1980s ranged from 100,000 to 1 million. No television service was available, but in September 1988 France agreed to provide CFA F185 million to install a television station at N'Djamena to reach the surrounding area.
Print media, too, were limited by their lack of capital and equipment and by travel and communications difficulties. In 1988 the government-owned Chadian Press Agency (Agence Tchadienne de Presse) published a daily bulletin, Info-Tchad, in French, but its circulation was only 1,500. The UNIR information office also published a weekly newsletter, Al Watan, in French and Arabic. French newspapers such as Le Monde were also available, and government communiqués were circulated in most cities.
All media were owned and controlled by the government. Even the underground publication of antigovernment views was relatively rare, although Radio Bardaï broadcast antigovernment views on behalf of opposition groups, usually in Chadian Arabic. Chad's small journalistic community looked forward to the improvement of nationwide media as a means of educating and unifying the population.
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