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Private TV station shut down; several journalists questioned following broadcast of interview with rebel leader

(JED/IFEX) - A weekend of media repression in Kinshasa has resulted in at least four journalists being questioned for several hours by the intelligence services, the closing of a private TV station, and the confiscation of a tape recording of an interview with a rebel leader.

Stéphane Kitutu O'Leontwa, general manager of CCTV/RALIK (Canal Congo Télévision/Radio Liberté Kinshasa), Thierry Musenepo, general manager, Christophe Ali, production manager, and Tutu Kazadi, assistant producer with BRTV (Business Radio Télévision), both Kinshasa-based stations, were arrested on 26 August 2007, around 3:00 p.m. (local time) by National Intelligence Agency agents.

The signal of BRTV station was suddenly cut a few hours prior to the arrests, and broadcasts had yet to resume on 27 August. No official reason was given to explain these actions.

According to information gathered by JED through a close colleague of Kitutu's and a BRTV manager, the ANR blames the two stations for broadcasting a controversial 2006 interview with General Laurent Nkunda Batware, a rebel leader based in the Masisi territory near Goma, the main city of North Kivu province, on 24 August.

The journalists were interrogated for several hours about the origin of the interview and the motivation behind its broadcast. They were asked to "remain available for further investigation."

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