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Ban on some 30 broadcasters partially lifted

(JED/IFEX) - JED welcomes the decision by the new minister of communication and media, Emile Bongeli, to partially lift the two-month-old ban on some 30 private broadcasters based in Kinshasa.

In a 20 December 2007 decree, the minister, citing a report by the compliance monitoring commission (la commission de contrôle de conformité) established by his predecessor, authorised 22 radio and television stations to resume broadcasting. Among them are stations with close ties to the opposition, such as Canal Kin Television (CKTV, which belongs to opposition politician Jean-Pierre Bemba), Molière TV and Radio Lisanga TV (RLTV).

Some ten other stations remain banned. Among them is Canal Congo Television (CCTV), also owned by Bemba, which was accused by the government of "fanning the fire" during the bloody events of 22 and 23 March 2007 in Kinshasa. Contacted by JED, CCTV management, which met with the secretary-general of the Ministry of Communication and Media on 21 December, said the authorities were still demanding other administrative documents not expressly mentioned in the law concerning the exercise of press freedom, such as registration with the social security agency (INSS) and the Institute of Professional Preparation (INPP), journalists' work contracts, a bank account, etc.

JED rejects any attempt to impose on the media conditions of operation not expressly demanded by the framework law regulating the media sector in the DRC. JED reminds the minister of communication and media that, in accordance with Article 9 of the DRC's press law, "in matters of audiovisual communication, freedom is the principle and prohibition the exception, subject to respect for the law, public order, the rights of others and accepted standards."

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