FONDATION HIRONDELLE CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS IN DRC

Fondation Hirondelle, Media for Peace and Human Dignity
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<!– Fondation Hirondelle – Switzerland –>

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Lausanne/Kinshasa, September 17, 2009 (Fondation Hirondelle) – Fondation Hirondelle is deeply concerned about the sharp decline in working conditions for journalists in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and various attempts to undermine press freedom and freedom of expression in that country. Threats have been targeted particularly at journalists from Radio Okapi, the country’s leading broadcaster which is run jointly by Fondation Hirondelle and MONUC, the United Nations mission in the DRC. Two female journalists from Radio Okapi in the unstable eastern town of Bukavu last week received death threats, along with another female journalist working for a local community radio station. This comes after the murders in Bukavu of Radio Okapi journalists Serge Maheshe in 2007 and Didace Namujimbo in 2008. Fondation Hirondelle and MONUC are doing all they can to ensure the security of Radio Okapi employees, who continue to work courageously providing a daily news and information service for the Congolese population. Fondation Hirondelle endorses the September 16 statement of Alan Doss, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC, in which he condemned these “attacks on freedom of expression” and called on the Congolese authorities, particularly in South Kivu province, to do all in their power to identify and arrest the perpetrators of these threats. Freedom of the press is vital to the democratic future of the country. Fondation Hirondelle calls on the Congolese government to send this message clearly to all civil and military authorities under its authority. (NB/JME/JC September 17, 2009)


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