JED Condemns Police raid on Media Outlet and Brutal Arrest of Two Journalists

Photo credit: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/ Getty Images

Journalist en Danger (JED) expresses its total disapproval of the attack by elements of the Congolese national police on the premises of Radio Communautaire Kivu and the arrest of two journalists found at the scene.

The radio station, based in Baraka, a town about 140 km from Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province, was stormed on Monday 13 April 2020 at around 8 p.m. by two police officers looking for Nicodème Kashind, the journalist and presenter of the newspaper, who was accused of “defaming” the police.

When they did not find him, the police arrested journalists Gilbert Wasokye, who was presenting a programme called “Gala scientifique”, and André Faucon, who was preparing his programme. Tied up, the two journalists were taken to the local police station where they spent the night.

Contacted by JED, Luc Lokendo, Director of Radio Communautaire Kivu, denied the fact that his media had been accused. “According to the police, our station broadcast a report that the population lynched a policeman who was operating with bandits in Baraka. The RCK has never broadcast such a report. We said during our talk show that the population lynched a bandit without adding any comment or indexing the police,” the director said.

Journalist in Danger (JED) strongly condemns this violent attack by the police on the premises of this media, which is no less and no more than a grave violation of freedom of information and an abuse of power.

For JED, whatever the journalist’s alleged wrongdoing, the police have no right to take justice into their own hands.

While recalling that press freedom in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a constitutional right that must be respected by all, JED urges the local and provincial authorities to intervene to free the journalists immediately.