Brazzaville- Congo (PANA) -- The Congolese government has granted the private press in the country 300 million FCFA (over 400,000 US dollars) in a move to salvage the local media from chronic financial difficulties.
An official statement said on Friday that some 24 newspapers and a privately owned radio station received computer equipment (computers, printers, scanners and consumables) and checks worth 50 million francs.
President Denis Sassou Nguesso promised the grant last July during a meeting held by the Francophone press in Brazzaville.
The minister at the Presidency in charge of State Control, Gerard Bitsindou presented the donation Friday and said it was the first in a series of assistance "meant to assist the new Congolese press which is saddled with huge financial difficulties".
The gesture is the first by Congolese authorities since the private press became blooming again in the 90s.
"We do appreciate the gesture from the government which will definitely alleviate our hardships," said Joachim Bandza, editorial director of the catholic weekly magazine La Semaine African.
"As the government shows concern for the private media, now is the turn for independent journalists to exhibit professionalism and credibility," he urged colleagues in the media.
About 40 weekly and monthly magazines operate in Congo.