Monday, 27 February 2012

Three suspended stations back on air after pressure from Press Freedom defenders!

Written by Gael Masengi

Last week we reported on unexplained signal jam and eventual suspension of three television stations, a move which the EU (European Union) and the US based Carter Center criticised the Congolese government for.  “The European Union regrets…..the decision of the minister of communication and media to cut the signal of five television and radio stations”.  the EU mission in DRC said in a statement on Friday 17 feb”.  The EU is one of the country’s biggest donors, with some 634 million set aside for development projects between 2008 and 2012.
Journaliste en Danger (JED), a non-governmental organization that defends journalists’ rights, learned that the broadcasters were allowed back on the air following a meeting between their representatives and Lambert Mende, minister of Communication and Media also government spokesman. Several sources told JED that RTCE was accused of airing “propaganda” about a peaceful march planned by Catholics for 16 February. The march was intended to mark the 20th anniversary commemoration of massacre of Christians and also to protest the outcome of the November 28th elections. CCTV and CKTV were accused of airing commercials by the Catholic Church promoting the march.
JED has condemned these acts of censorship that are intended to systematically deny the opposition its means of expression.
The tension between Kinshasa and its European partners have reached a boiling point due to allegation of frauds during the last November elections, earlier this year the EU announced that they are "revising" their contribution. Kinshasa hit back, Lambert Mende warned Europeans to “stay out and stop interfering on our domestically affairs”, he was quoted saying the Congolese government organised the elections without any outside help and he said “the DRC has no lesson to receive from anyone”.
“The international community have contributed significantly on these elections” declared the United Nations’ mission in Congo (MONUSCO) spokesperson M. Mounoubai. “Belgium, Canada, France, the UK, Switzerland, Swede as well as the Netherlands have contributed financially through the UN programmes, the UN disposed 27 helicopters and 5 planes to carry ballots throughout the entire country. We had spent $30 million to pay CENI (electoral body) workers, and when someone said that the international community have done nothing, that’s lie” he concluded.
A country which much of its budget comes from international organisations, this may be a pretty dangerous game to play for the Congolese government.

No comments:

Post a Comment