CPJ urges authorities in DR Congo to investigate raid on media house

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - The authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should thoroughly and credibly investigate police raid on Radio Télévision Chrétienne (RTC), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Thursday.

In a statement made available to PANA, the press freedom watchdog also called on the authorities to return all seized equipment, ensure the protection of journalist José Mbuyi, and hold all those responsible for the raid to account.

According to CPJ, on 5 August police raided the community radio station in the town of Kananga roughly an hour after it broadcast a report on a new tax on motorcycles.

The director of the radio station, Sosphète Kambidi, was quoted saying that Jean Mwamba, the mayor of Kananga, in Central Kasai province, phoned the radio station shortly after a 6 am (0500 GMT) broadcast in which Mbuyi reported on the new tax.

"He was angry about the report we had broadcast at 6 a.m, and said he was going to close the radio station," Kamdibi told CPJ. "Then, an hour later, police officers arrived in our office saying that they were looking for journalist Mbuyi."

According to CPJ, the five police officers did not present a warrant to enter the radio station but confiscated two computers, two recorders, and a microphone before leaving.

Mbuyi told CPJ that he left the station as the five police officers arrived. He has since received phone calls from unidentified callers threatening him with death.

"The police raid on the Congolese community radio station is a crude act of intimidation intended to censor the radio station and its journalists," remarked CPJ Africa Programme Coordinator, Angela Quintal.

"Journalists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo must be permitted to report without fear for their safety or harassment by police."

Meanwhile, CPJ also disclosed that the five police officers responsible for the raid were detained on 5 August at the local police station, but that they were released on 7 August without charge.

Two of the five police officers were said to have been re-arrested on Wednesday in response to a criminal complaint the radio station filed against the police officers with the military prosecutor's office, which has the authority to hold the armed forces and police accountable for their actions.

Kambidi told CPJ that Radio Télévision Chrétienne has resumed broadcasting, but in a more limited capacity, since pieces of "key equipment" remain missing.
-0- PANA MLJ/MA 10Aug2017

10 août 2017 21:04:03

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