DRC: Further blows to press freedom, despite new regulation body

Two privately owned Congolese newspapers were suspended on 5 January. The order for suspension came from the director of the provincial media authority of Orientale, on the grounds that the Kisangani based Journal de la paix and Kisangani News violated a 1996 law establishing the “conditions for the operation of a free press in the DRC.” According to reports, a week prior to the suspension, Kisangani News editor-in-chief Sébastien Mulumba was called to the home of provincial governor Médard Autsai Asenga after the paper criticised the provincial government. Editor-in-chief of Journal de la paix Grégoire Ngubu claimed that he was threatened by the Asenga’s supporters. The recently created Congolese media regulation body, Higher Council for Broadcasting and Communications (CSAC) has already come under fire from local rights groups, who called for the council to be disbanded, on the grounds that it has proven to be “incapable of assuming its independence” following “numerous cases of interference by politicians and security services in the affairs of the media.”