February 8, 2019

New DRC opposition urged to guarantee journalists’ safety

Martin Fayulu, candidat à malheureux à la présidentielle du 30 démembre 2018 en RDC, filmé et photographié par des journalistes le jour du vote. Crédit :
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) joins its partner organization Journalist in Danger (JED) in condemning a series of attacks on reporters during opposition meetings in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Here is JED’s press release:


In a 5 February letter to Martin Fayulu, the runner-up in last December’s presidential election, Journalist in Danger (JED) has asked Fayulu to “publicly condemn attacks against journalists and to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that such incidents cannot recur” at future meetings organized by his party or supporters.


“The meetings that you organize to demand ‘the truth about the elections’ have for some time been giving rise to alarming physical attacks against journalists by your supporters,” the letter signed by JED secretary-general Tshivis Tshivuadi says.


The letter draws Fayulu’s attention to some of the acts of violence experienced by journalists while covering his meetings. Israel Mutombo, a journalist with Kinshasa-based Afrika TV, was violently attacked and his car was stoned on 2 February by members of Lamuka, the coalition that backed Fayulu’s presidential candidacy last December. Mutombo told JED he was called a “traitor” and “collaborator” with the new government. The attack could have been much more serious if fellow journalists had not intervened.


Dieumerci Mankesela, a cameraman with “Tokomi wapi” (Where are we now?), a current affairs programme carried by several Kinshasa-based TV channels, was attacked and beaten at the same meeting by Lamuka supporters, who criticized the programme’s promoter, Eliezer Tambwe, for being part of President Félix Tshisekedi’s election campaign team and for being elected to the national assembly as a member of his party.


Two other journalists were roughed up and had their equipment seized at meetings by Fayulu supporters in the latter part of January. They were Stanis Bujakera Tshamala, the deputy editor of the Actualite.cdnews website, in Kinshasa on 21 January and TV5 Mondecorrespondent Joseph Amaniin Uvira, in Sud-Kivu province, on 24 January.


The JED letter condemns these attacks as serious violations  of the freedom to inform, which is guaranteed by the DRC’s laws, and reminds Fayulu that the journalists who go to cover his meetings are just doing their duty to report the news and should under no circumstances be targeted by his supporters at these meetings.