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Bought-off media worsen election marred in violence

At least 18 people were killed and 100 injured in the violence that led up to the elections on 28 November 2011
At least 18 people were killed and 100 injured in the violence that led up to the elections on 28 November 2011

Giampaolo Musumeci/Centre National de Coopération au Développement

Just before a brutally violent and hotly contested election, Journaliste en danger (JED) condemned the lack of media standards and inaction by DRC's broadcast regulatory that have contributed to massive divisions in the country.

In a letter to DRC's broadcast regulatory agency and electoral commission on 18 November, JED pointed to the lack of impartiality in election campaign coverage, which it attributed to the fact that all media outlets were bribed by certain political parties.

"Congolese media is engaged in a propaganda frenzy," JED said. The dearth of objective media coverage impeded on voters' ability to make informed decisions, causing the elections to "lose their democratic character," JED added.

At least 18 people were killed and 100 injured in the violence that led up to the elections on 28 November - the majority at the hands of Republican Guard soldiers who were firing randomly at angry opposition crowds, according to Human Rights Watch.

On election day, three men were killed, and 13 others, including 10 women, were abducted on their way to the polling station by the Lord's Resistance Army, Human Rights report. Soldiers at polling stations intimidated some voters and some political parties were unable to deliver their election materials because the delivery of the documents had been blocked, Human Rights Watch says.

On 9 December, incumbent Joseph Kabila was named winner with 49 per cent of the vote, followed by opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi with 32 per cent, according to news reports. Citing election theft, opposition supporters reacted with street demonstrations that turned violent and left several protesters dead.

According to a report by Al Jazeera, in some districts, nearly 100 per cent of registered voters turned out with almost all of the votes going to Kabila - a likely sign of fraud.

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