14 June 2004


JED denounces latest government efforts to silence the press

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(JED/IFEX) - The following is a JED press release:

Journaliste en danger denounces efforts to silence the press

Kinshasa, 14 June 2004

Journaliste en danger (JED) has learned that the Ministry of Press and Information issued a directive, on 12 June 2004, warning the Congolese press to "respect editorial guidelines to the letter during this period of crisis."

"During this period of disturbing events (the situation in Bukavu, the failed coup d'etat in Kinshasa), the handling of news is of great strategic importance and is linked to the defence and internal security of the state," cautioned Press and Information Minister Vital Kamerhe.

The minister concluded by warning, "News outlets that publish biased reports, including statements inciting hatred or civil disobedience, declarations that may have a demoralising effect on the Congolese Armed Forces or that present these unfortunate events in an impertinent fashion (. . .) will be punished to the full extent of the law."

JED is concerned over the thinly-veiled threats in the ministerial directive and denounces the government's repeated efforts to silence the press or impose an editorial line on press organs whose independence and professionalism disturb the authorities.

JED notes that a state of emergency has not been declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and that ministerial directives must therefore not contravene Articles 27, 28 et 29 of the transitional constitution, which guarantee press freedom.

Such ministerial directives must also fully respect Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the DRC is a party.


Journaliste en danger
374, av. Col. Mondjiba. Complexe Utexafrica. Galerie St Pierre
1er niveau. Local 18. Kinshasa/Ngaliema. B.P. 633 Kinshasa 1
République Démocratique du Congo
direction (@) jed-afcentre.org
Fax:+ 44 207 9003413
Democratic Republic of Congo

IFEX members working in this country 1

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