RSF refers Congolese journalist’s arbitrary detention to Media Freedom Coalition
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has referred the arbitrary detention of Stanis Bujakera, a Congolese journalist for whom a provisional release request has just been rejected for the fifth time, to the Media Freedom Coalition (MFC), a partnership of 50 countries working together to promote media freedom.
The deputy director of the Actualités.cd news site and correspondent of the Reuters news agency and the French news magazine Jeune Afrique, Stanis Bujakera has been jailed in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 8 September on various charges, above all forging an intelligence agency memo that was used as the basis of a Jeune Afrique story.
The fifth request for Bujakera’s provisional release in less than two months was rejected on 7 November by court in the capital, Kinshasa. As a result of RSF’s referral, the Media Freedom Coalition can now take appropriate action to help end his arbitrary detention.
By means of this referral, we are asking MFC member states to intercede with the Congolese authorities for Stanis Bujakera to be released quickly and unconditionally and for all the charges against him to be dropped, so that he can resume working as a journalist.
The MFC was created in July 2019 at the initiative of the United Kingdom and Canada. Civil society organisations such as RSF that are members of the MFC’s consultative network can report particularly serious situations or individual cases, such as arbitrary detention, to member states for them to take action.
Bujakera is currently being tried on six clearly trumped-up charges including fabricating an internal memo by the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) and sending it to Jeune Afrique for use as the basis of a story published on 31 August, although the story did not carry Bujakera’s by-line. An investigation by RSF has shown that Bujakera could not have been the author of the memo, which is widely regarded as authentic despite the government’s claims.
Less than two weeks after Bujakera’s arrest, RSF referred the case to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, asking it to recognise the arbitrary nature of his detention.