Monday, 9 January 2012

JED wants the media regulatory CSAC shut down!

Written by Gael Masengi

The opposition in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) suffer from what I call a complete Media Blackout caused by the illegitimate government. With all their friendly TV channels, radio and newspapers shut down, it’s becoming difficult for the opposition to get their message out. The UDPS and the UNC (main opp. Parties) are left in the dark, last week the French government-funded station Radio France Internationale (RFI) was suspended for broadcasting a message addressed by E. Tshisekedi, defeated popular presidential candidate who rejected the elections results supposedly won by Joseph Kabila, declared himself president and subsequently sworn-in in his Limete residence in Kinshasa. The New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the temporary suspension of all six FM frequencies for RFI by the govt of DRC.
Given to all of those allegations, the media watchdog call on the “high authorities” of the country to shut down the media regulatory agency Congolese Broadcasting and Communications Superior Council (CSAC)

On its annual reports published on December 28, last year, the country’s media watch dog Journalist In Danger (Journaliste En Danger, JED) denounced more than hundreds cases of violation of press freedom and called on ‘president’ Kabila to disband the state run media regulatory (CSAC) for “failing on its mission to [fairly] regulate the media”. JED accuses the CSAC of “multiple political interferences on media which violate its [CSAC] laws”. According to the organisation “the interferences cause failure to the media regulatory on its mission to protect the rights of journalists and to encourage media’s professionalism”

These acts have been mostly taking place on opposition strong hold areas like Kasai (central) where managers and directors of TV stations close to the opposition are being attacked, jailed and sometime threatened to death. In Kinshasa, the capital city, Canal Future (CFTV) saw its signal cut off since last November for ten days. The signal loss came as the channel was reporting on irregularities during the presidential and legislatives elections. The station was accused of broadcasting “false information without proof against other candidate [the outgoing president Joseph Kabila]”.  Three days after the suspension date expired, the signal has never been established and that without any further explanation from the CSAC.

Radio Lisanga Television (RLTV), a main opposition station, was forbidden to broadcast on Saturday 3rd last December for seven days by CSAC. In its turn, the channel was accused of “publishing the results of November 28 elections, which didn’t come from the electoral body (CENI)”. Its provincial office in Mbuji-Mayi was sieged by the men on uniforms heavily armed. Since then its signals was cut off until today. From December 3rd 2011, the text message service known as SMS was shut down from all the networks around the country by the order of deputy prime minister/minister of home affairs and security, a measure he said was taken “to preserve public order and to assure a good achievement of the electoral process” despite protests from population, condemnations by human rights activists, the banned hasn’t been lifted (as of 30 December 2011).   

Also in Belgium, former colonial power, where “Anti-Kabila” manifestations have been taking place since the electoral body CENI published the results in favour of Joseph Kabila, French speaking media have been criticised by the opposition supporters, accusing them of showing what they call “pro-Kabila attitude” and reporting unfairly on the on-going “electoral Hold-Up”. Last week-end mostly supporters of Etienne Tshisekedi rallied in Louvain to protest against the November 28 election results after they were forbidden to do so in capital city of Brussels however they praise Flemish press for criticising Kabila regime.


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