The storytelling tradition is an important
part of the Central African culture, as is the vocal
singing of the pygmy people. The oral stories are passed
on through music and song, although work is underway to
write down the stories.
The stories are presented at parties or religious
ceremonies, usually in combination with dance. Aka's
oral traditions have been added to the UN agency
UNESCO's list of world cultural heritage and work is
ongoing to preserve the oral narrative.
A special instrument is the balafone, which is a kind
of xylophone of horns, skins and wood. The Pygmies'
music is known for its special vocal singing and for a
kind of whistling.
Latest population statistics of Central African Republic, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
A more modern style of music is zokela, which comes
from Congo-Kinshasa and is mostly played in the cities.
In Zokela, traditional Central African music is mixed
with rumba, cha-cha and other South American rhythms.
The most well-known contemporary author is Pierre
Makombo Bamboté, who among other things wrote the books
Princesse Mandupa (1972) and Coup d'état nčgre (1987).
The country's foremost film director is Joseph
Akouissonne who has made the films Zo kwe zo (A Man is a
Person, 1982) and Les dieux noirs du stade (Stadium's
Black Gods, 1982). The visual artist Jerome Ramedane
(1936–1991) depicts hunting, wildlife and life in the
central African countryside.
Freedom of the press and freedom of
expression are guaranteed in the constitution but are
not fully respected by the state power. Journalists can
be prosecuted for various crimes, such as rioting and
disobedience to security forces. Self-censorship is
There are many indications that in recent years the
authorities and holders of power have become
increasingly sensitive to criticism.
In 2005, the law was amended so that journalists
could no longer be prosecuted, but nevertheless, in the
spring of 2015, charges were brought against three
journalists for insulting the then President Catherine
However, the most serious limitation of press freedom
is not state laws and regulations. The arbitrary
violence from both security forces and militia threatens
journalists' opportunities to work. Newspaper offices
were looted and radio stations destroyed.
Another obstacle to independent journalism is that
journalists have low wages and are therefore easy to
In 2014, a French freelance journalist was killed
when she followed the Christian anti-Balaka militia in
the Bouar region in the western part of the country to
document the violence that was going on there. In the
summer of 2018, three Russian journalists were murdered
in the country. They were there to investigate whether
the private Russian security company Wagner PMC, which
has relations with the Russian government, has
mercenaries in the Central African Republic.
In June 2019, two French journalists who worked for
the AFP news agency were arrested and beaten by police
and seized their equipment when they watched a protest
organized by a banned opposition organization. They were
released after the Central African Justice Minister
intervened. He also defended that they had been
In 2019, the Central African Republic ranked 145 out
of 180 on the Reporters Without Borders ranking list of
press freedom in the countries of the world. The country
has slipped further and further down the list since
2013, when it was found at position 65.
For the majority of residents, radio is the most
important medium. State-owned Radio Centrafrique is
controlled by the government, but there are a few
private and relatively independent radio stations,
including UN-supported Radio Ndele Luka, where
government criticism occurs. The country's only
broadcaster, Télévision Centrafricaine, is state and
usually supports the incumbent government.
Printed media have little spread. They are printed
and read almost exclusively in the capital Bangui, due
to the widespread illiteracy. Also, there is no
functioning postal system that can distribute newspapers
outside the capital.
The biggest daily newspapers are the politically
unrelated Le Confident and Le Citoyen who often
criticize the governing. A dozen weekly and monthly
newspapers are also published.
FACTS - MASS MEDIA
Percentage of the population using the
4 percent (2017)
Number of mobile subscriptions per 100
Séléka is approaching Bangui
At the turn of the year, the rebels are less than 10 miles from the capital
and are said to control about two-thirds of the country. After a meeting with
the African Union (AU), Bozizé says he is ready to take Séléka into a unity
government. The rebels respond that they should consider the offer and wait with
New rebel movement trains south
A new rebel movement Séléka quickly moves south towards the capital Bangui
and in a short time takes control of four provincial capitals. Séléka, which is
based in the Muslim-dominated northeastern part of the country, was founded in
the fall by defectors from the CPJP and UFDR who joined forces with the rebel
movement Patriotic Collection for the Rescue of Society (CPSK).
Several are arrested on suspicion of planned coup
Security forces say they have revealed plans to overthrow President Bozizé
and three men are reported to have been arrested. One of the arrested must be a
former Chadian army officer.
Rebel groups dissolve
The former rebel groups APRD and UFDR are disbanded and a disarmament of
their forces begins.