Djibouti Culture

Djibouti Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Djibouti

The mass media in Djibouti is completely controlled by the state. There are no private radio and TV channels. The state-owned company Radiodiffusion-Télévision de Djibouti (RTD), founded in 1957, broadcasts radio and TV in French, Arabic, Sao-Afar and Somali.

The share of the population with access to the internet is low, just over 12 percent in 2017.

The Ministry of Information publishes two newspapers, the French-speaking La Nation and the English-speaking Djibouti Post. The Ministry also publishes the weekly Al-Qarn magazine in Arabic.

Djibouti is rated by Reporters Without Borders as one of the world’s worst countries in terms of press freedom. In 2017, the country was ranked 170 out of 180 in the organization’s annual Press Freedom Index.


According to ALLUNITCONVERTERS, Djibouti has few internationally renowned writers, musicians and artists. On the other hand, the country’s two large groups of people have long and arduous traditions of oral storytelling and poetry.

Djibouti’s perhaps most famous author is Abdourahman Waberi (1965–), who writes both lyric and prose in French. The most famous style of music is balwo, which comes from Somalia and is mostly about love and romance.

The Afars’ traditional music is reminiscent of the Ethiopian with elements of Arabic music. Afar’s poetry and stories are musical and emotionally charged. The Issa people’s story has a more religious character.



Chinese naval base inaugurated

1 August

China’s first military base abroad is inaugurated in Djibouti, a few kilometers from the US base Camp Lemonnier which has been there since 2002. The Chinese naval base will provide logistical support to Chinese escort vessels, UN troops and anti-piracy operations. Through the naval base, Chinese citizens must also be able to evacuate in crisis situations (see Foreign Policy and Defense).


Djibouti wants the AU’s assistance in border disputes

July 3

Djibouti wants AU to push out the border between Djibouti and Eritrea in a way that both countries can accept. Foreign Minister Youssouf says that as long as there is no clearly marked border, the conflict will lead to continued tension. He admits that the Eritrean soldiers who entered the disputed border area in June withdrew the day after.


The UN wants to see a peaceful solution to border conflict

June 20

The UN Security Council calls on Djibouti and Eritrea to resolve their border conflict with peaceful means in accordance with international law principles. The Security Council supports a proposal from the AU to send an investigation commission to the disputed border area.

AU appeals for calm at troubled border

17th of June

AU appeals to Djibouti and Eritrea to show restraint since Djibouti accused Eritrea of ​​bringing in soldiers in the border region of Doumeira, recently evacuated by a Qatari observer force. Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf says that if Eritrea is looking for a military solution to the countries’ border conflict “then Djibouti is ready”. The African Union (AU) offers to help both countries normalize their relations.

Qatar brings home peacekeeping

June 14

The military observer force from Qatar, which since 2010 has guarded the border between Djibouti and Eritrea (see Foreign Policy and Defense) is withdrawn. The reason is that both countries stood on Saudi Arabia’s side in a diplomatic conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, among others.


New deep harbor opened

24th of May

A new deep harbor will be opened in Doraleh just outside the capital. The port, partially funded by a Hong Kong-based company, is said to be one of the most modern and technologically advanced in the world. It is expected to strengthen Djibouti’s position as a trading center for large parts of East Africa.


“The regime increasingly authoritarian”

April 7

The International Human Rights Federation (FIDH) requires the release of nine members of the opposition party MRD. The nine sit detained suspects for “illegal banking” in connection with a micro-credit program, which has given about 30 people the opportunity to start small businesses. Five of them are also charged with “illegal political activities”. Fidh says the arrests are a sign of the regime’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies.

Djibouti Culture

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