5 July 2006


RFI special envoy expelled

Incident details

Ghislaine Dupont



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(JED/IFEX) - JED has voiced deep disapproval following the expulsion from Kinshasa of Ghislaine Dupont, Radio France International's (RFI) special envoy, on 3 July 2006. So far, Congolese authorities have provided no official explanation for the decision.

Accompanied by Didier Lagueny, the French Consul in Kinshasa, Dupont was summoned to the Congolese Intelligence Services (Direction générale des renseignements des services spéciaux, DGRS) headquarters, where Major Van Ibiba told her of the decision to expel her from the country. The major gave her a SN Brussels airline ticket for a flight on the evening of 3 July, adding that it came "with the compliments of the Congolese police". A few hours later, DGRS agents escorted Dupont right up to her plane at Ndjili airport. According to witnesses, before getting on board, the journalist was photographed and fingerprinted.

JED considers it a shameful and outrageous ending of a struggle, which for months has pitted RFI management against the Congolese government. The government's denial of accreditation for the journalist illustrated the desire of some Congolese authorities to do battle with a journalist whose professionalism and independence were unsettling.

"At a moment when the country is fully involved in a campaign for supposedly-independent elections, the expulsion of such a journalist is an outrage and a shame for the country," JED added. The organisation urges, in particular, the president, who is a candidate to succeed himself, to provide a convincing explanation.

According to news obtained by JED, the RFI special envoy is accused of having produced some reports in recent days even though the Information Ministry had not yet issued her accreditation.

Dupont, who holds a journalist's visa valid for six months, arrived in Kinshasa on 17 April to cover the electoral process. However, Information Minister Mova Sakanyi kept on blocking her accreditation, arguing for instance that RFI already had the greatest representation among media for the 30 July elections.

But several sources told JED that Mova Sakanyi accuses Dupont of partiality and has not forgiven her for some reports critical of the president's People's Party for Reconstruction (PPRD).

JED also notes that following some reports by Dupont, particularly in the east of the country, the minister threatened to shut down RFI, calling it "Radio des Milles collines", a reference to the hateful media outlet that contributed to the genocide in Rwanda.


Journaliste en danger
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République Démocratique du Congo
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Democratic Republic of Congo

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