Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Journalist in Danger (JED), its partner organization in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), are deeply shocked by yesterday’s one-day suspension of local retransmission of the broadcasts of the French international news radio station, Radio France Internationale.
It coincided with a one-day “Dead City Day” protest called by the main opposition parties to demand adherence to the constitution, which forbids a third term for President Joseph Kabila.
RFI’s signal was simultaneously cut early in the morning in the capital, Kinshasa, and in Bukavu, the capital of the eastern province of Sud-Kivu, and was not restored until the start of the evening.
The communication and media minister, who is also the government’s spokesman, said the measure was taken by the local authorities in order to prevent RFI from “casting oil on the flames.”
RSF and JED regard the suspension as an illegal and arbitrary action that reflects government hostility towards an international radio station that is listened to every day by millions of Congolese and whose independence bothers the authorities.
As this is not the first time that RFI’s signal has been cut and the election process is now a source of growing tension, RSF and JED call for an investigation into this grave violation of freedom of information in order to identify who gave the orders and to prevent its recurrence.
DRC is ranked 150th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2015 press freedom index.