Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo

Without firm measures, the dangers will remain

Under Joseph Kabila, violence against journalists spread with complete impunity and the instigators of the ten murders of journalists during his presidency were never brought to justice. The freedom to inform was also curtailed online by frequent Internet cuts or by blocking access to social media, as was the case during the most recent presidential election in 2018. Although there was a slight let-up when the new president, Félix Tshisekedi, took office in January 2019, press freedom violations – including arrests, attacks, threats, murders and the ransacking or closure of media outlets – continue to take place at an alarming rate. No fewer than 115 press freedom violations were logged in 2020 by Journalist in Danger (JED), RSF’s partner organisation in the DRC. Several journalists were detained in response to complaints by provincial governors, an RFI correspondent was sued by a former minister, and many journalists were attacked, threatened or forced into hiding by the armed groups prevalent in the east of the country. A journalist is also missing, although an armed group told his family they executed him three days after abducting him. Several journalists with many online followers have been the victims of smear campaigns. Although the coronavirus crisis resulted in some press freedom violations, they were fewer than during the Ebola epidemic in 2019, which had dire consequences for journalism. A radio station director was murdered, while community radio stations were threatened for broadcasting Ebola prevention messages and then received no support from the authorities and organisations in charge of combatting the epidemic. The new president’s pledge to turn the media into “a real fourth estate” is unlikely to be realised in the absence of concrete measures. The adoption of new legislation to replace the 1996 law criminalising press offences, and the creation of a mechanism for protecting and securing journalists would be essential first steps. Without firm action, there can be no hope of improvement after two decades of constant abuses against media personnel.

149
in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index

Ranking

+1

150 in 2020

Global score

-0.50

49.09 in 2020

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
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