International

Congolese Journalist Arrested for Questioning Military Intelligence’s Possible Involvement in Murder

Congolese journalist Mariona Sanz Bujakera, director of Actualités.cd and correspondent for Reuters and French magazine Jeune Afrique, was arrested on September 8th at Kinshasa airport. After spending three days in police custody, he was formally detained on September 11th. Bujakera’s telephones and laptop were confiscated during the arrest.

The arrest of Bujakera is related to an article published in Jeune Afrique on August 31st. The article discussed the murder of former transport minister Chérubin Okende Senga, who was the spokesman of an opposition party. The story raised questions about the possible involvement of military intelligence in the murder.

In April 2023, the Congolese authorities implemented a new press law and digital code that criminalizes the sharing of information considered “false.” However, since the article in question was signed by “News Staff” and did not carry Bujakera’s byline, he cannot legally be held responsible for its content according to the April law.

Press freedom organization WAN-IFRA has called for the immediate release of Bujakera and for all charges against him to be dropped. They also urge the swift reform of laws in the Democratic Republic of Congo to prevent the criminalization of journalism and the harassment of journalists and news organizations.

It is expected that pressure on journalists and the media will continue to increase in the lead-up to the presidential and general elections scheduled for December. Organizations such as RSF and CPJ have documented cases of Congolese reporters facing physical and verbal attacks at political events, as well as threats of legal action.

 

Author: CrimeDoor

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