Madagascar: Teacher Convicted Of Defamation For Facebook Posts
Jeannot Randriamanana is a 38-year-old public secondary school teacher living and working in Mananjary, in the region of Vatovavy, in the center east of Madagascar. He is a father of four children aged 18, 14, 9 and 4 years old. In addition to his work as a public schoolteacher, he also works as a communication officer for the local branch of the NGO, Independent Observatory of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Madagascar (Observatoire Indépendant des Droits Economiques, Sociaux et Culturels à Madagascar - OIDESCM). He is passionate about human rights, mainly concerned with the right to information and good governance. He has been posting on his social media about the poor state of school infrastructure in the district of Nosy Varika since December 2021. In December 2021, he exposed that he had been targeted for harassment and intimidation for denouncing cases of corruption on his social media account. Jeannot mentioned that he has received threatening messages on his Facebook from anonymous profiles.
Cyclones Batsirai and Emnati hit Madagascar on 5 and 23 February 2022. They resulted in landfalls in the districts of Nosy Varika and Mananjary, prompting a global call for international humanitarian aid. At the end of February 2022, Jeannot Randriamanana, started to denounce on social media that the local population had not received any of the humanitarian aid promised by the local authorities.
On 2 March, the Public Prosecutor brought charges against Jeannot Randriamanana for defamation and humiliation of members of Parliament and public servants and identity fraud. He was also charged with fraudulent use of the function of a journalist (identity fraud), solely for having shared information on his social media, as he never claimed to be a journalist. Jeannot was arrested on the same day.
Since his arrest, Jeannot Randriamanana’s wife and children have lost the sole income earner of their family and have been living off loans and support from family and friends.