May 19, 2017

Three TV5 Monde journalists badly beaten by police in Kinshasa

Image TV5
Reporters Without Borders condemns the violent attack by the police of the Democratic Republic of Congo on three journalists from the international television station TV5 Monde in Kinshasa yesterday, and joins a call by Journalist In Danger (JED) for an investigation.

The three TV5 Monde staffers, Francine Mukoko, Blaise Basomboli and Baudry Mata, were covering a story at Kinshasa’s main jail when they were badly beaten by police officers. The three reporters were then taken to the offices of the rapid reaction police force and were released several hours later. Their equipment was not returned.

“The journalists were viciously beaten while they were doing their job in responding to a breaking story, a spectacular escape from the main prison in the capital,” said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of RSF’s Africa desk.The authorities cannot shirk their responsibility for the events of the previous day by preventing journalists from keeping their fellow citizens informed. The fact that the police believed they could act in this way against the media clearly demonstrates the impunity that prevails in the country. We call on the authorities to open an investigation immediately in order to put an end to this kind of behaviour.”

The difficulties facing the media have been growing by the day since President Joseph Kabila postponed elections originally scheduled for November last year. Journalists have been the target of threats, assaults and arbitrary arrests, and news organizations continue to be closed down or subjected to interference, including the French international radio station Radio France Internationale

Last year, JED recorded 87 direct attacks on the media, 41 of them before the month of May. During the same period this year, the organization has noted 69 such incidents, an increase of 60 percent over a year ago.

The DRC fell two places in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index published by RSF and is now ranked 154th of 180 countries.