- Reporters Without Borders have condemned the suspension of local transmission of the French public radio station, Radio France Internationale (RFI), in the north-eastern city of Bunia by the Congolese government.
According to a letter addressed to the Communications and Media Minister, Lambert Mendé, the Reporters Without Borders raised concerns that the recent closure of the station could also be extended throughout the country.
The letter called on the minister to restore RFI's broadcasts in Bunia and also to ensure press freedom by publicly announcing the legitimacy of the international media presence in Democratic Republic of Congo.
“You should be aware that a media presence in areas that are unstable or experiencing an armed conflict is necessary so that all the actors can have adequate access to news and information,” the letter said.
The minister has accused RFI of trying to provoke mutinies within the armed forces and to create inter-ethnic conflicts in areas where the government is working hard to end the conflict in the country.
“When you incite soldiers on pacification operations to mutiny, you are aiming to destroy the country and this has nothing to do with journalism. If it proves absolutely necessary to cut the transmission of certain media, we will do it,” the minister said.
However, the RFI management in Paris denied that the station's coverage of the DRC was in any way biased. The Congolese government has for years been criticising RFI's reporting and deported a visiting RFI reporter, Ghislaine Dupont, on 3 July 2006, when she was in Kinshasa to cover the presidential election.
The RFI's transmissions in Bunia, the capital of Ituri district, was cut on 2 May 2009.
In the recent development hampering the freedom of expression, the Rwandan government also banned the BBC Kinyarwanda programming for allegedly being bias and airing programmes that are devastating the country's efforts for reconstruction and reconciliation.
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