RSF and JED call for investigation into violence against journalists covering protests

first_imgNews RSF_en Democratic Republic of CongoAfrica Condemning abuses ViolenceFreedom of expression to go further Follow the news on Democratic Republic of Congo Democratic Republic of CongoAfrica Condemning abuses ViolenceFreedom of expression February 18, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts Please find below JED’s communiqué:“Journalists attacked during unrest in Kinshasa In a letter on 22 September to Evariste Boshab, the deputy prime minister responsible for internal affairs and national security, Journalist in Danger (JED) has called on him to launch an urgent investigation to identify and punish those responsible for abuses against journalists during the violence that swept Kinshasa on 19 and 20 September. In this letter (copies of which were sent to the president, the prime minister, the prosecutor-general and the armed forces auditor-general), JED points out that, in his toll of the clashes between opposition protesters and police, the deputy prime minister referred to persons killed, public buildings and schools set on fire, political party headquarters torched, and homes ransacked, but at no point mentioned the many journalists and media workers who were the victims of violence by the security forces although they were just doing their job. According to our information, some ten journalists and media workers were roughed up, physically attacked or arrested by the various components of the security forces on both the first and second day of the demonstrations in Kinshasa. JED condemns this gratuitous wave of violence against Congolese and foreign journalists who were just doing their job, violence that is a flagrant violation of the law guaranteeing media freedom in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The letter provides the deputy prime minister responsible for internal affairs and national security with the details of the following cases as examples of this violence, in case his omission was not deliberate: 1) Radio France Internationale’s DRC correspondent Sonia Rolley, Agence France-Presse reporter and photographer Eduardo Soteras and TV 5 journalists Dady Songhozo and John Kinkendu were arrested by Military Police (PM) on the morning of 19 September on Boulevard Triomphal, far from where the demonstrations were taking place. They were then manhandled and taken to Kokolo camp, where they were held for several hours and were stripped of all their belongings, their reporting material, money and mobile phones. 2) Dosta Lutula, a journalist with Kinshasa-based Canal Congo Télévision (CCTV), was arrested by otherwise-unidentified police while covering an opposition demonstration on 19 September. He was bundled into a police jeep and was taken to Tshatshi military camp, where he was given a prolonged beating. At around 1 a.m., he was taken to Kokolo camp, where he was roughed up again and was undressed. He was finally released the next day at around 6 p.m. after his camera and cassette tapes had been confiscated. 3) Kevin Inana, a journalist with the daily La Prospérité, was arrested near the Huileries traffic circle by a group of uniformed riot police who were firing shots and using teargas to disperse demonstrators. After chasing him, the police asked him to identify himself. As he displayed his press card, they beat over the head with their batons and threw him to the ground. He was left with a broken arm. 4) Eliezer Thambwe, a reporter and presenter of “Tokomi Wapi,” a magazine programme broadcast by several Kinshasa-based TV channels, and his cameraman, Dieumerci Makesela, were arrested separately by police while covering the same demonstration on 19 September. Thambwe was arrested at the Victoire traffic circle and was released shortly thereafter. Makesela was arrested on Avenue des Poids-Lourds and was taken to a police special services detention centre where he was held for 72 hours. His camera was confiscated prior to his release. Media worker associations organized a round-table in July about safety for journalists with the aim of avoiding any recurrence of this kind of violence at a time of widespread concern about an upsurge in political unrest in the DRC. At the end of the round-table, the media workers proposed consultation with the authorities responsible for public safety with a view to prevent dangers to journalists during this period of tension.”The Democratic Republic of Congo is ranked 152nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index. Help by sharing this information Congolese reporter wounded by gunshot while covering protest in Goma Organisation center_img Credit : EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP News News Reporters Without Borders (RSF) joins Journalist in Danger (JED) in urging the government to investigate and identify those responsible for the violence and abuses against journalists during street demonstrations on 19 and 20 September in Kinshasa. News Journalist arrested on provincial governor’s orders Reporter jailed in DRC for allegedly defaming parliamentarian February 24, 2021 Find out more February 16, 2021 Find out more September 23, 2016 RSF and JED call for investigation into violence against journalists covering protestslast_img read more