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Free expression violations down in 2009, says JED in year-end report

(JED/IFEX) - Kinshasa, 10 December 2009 - Journaliste en Danger (JED) recorded 75 attacks on free expression in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2009, down more than 30% from the 110 cases documented in 2008. The National Intelligence Agency (Agence nationale des renseignements, ANR) and its various provincial arms appear to be the most frequent violators of this right, claiming 26 of the 75 attacks recorded this year. Kinshasa, which boasts the highest concentration of journalists and media outlets, also claimed the highest number of violations, with 28. However, South Kivu province, in eastern DRC, remains the most dangerous place for journalists, with one murder recorded in 2009, the third since 2007. These are just some of the figures that emerge from JED's 2009 Annual Report, released today in Kinshasa, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day.

In the report, entitled, "Free Expression in Daily Life: Between Fear and Survival," JED notes that the decline in free expression violations was not matched by a qualitative improvement in the content of media stories. In attempting to explain this paradox, JED cites the "psychosis of fear" and preoccupation with survival among journalists. Indeed, since 2005, at least one journalist has been killed every year in DRC. Botched investigations and stalled trials do nothing to reassure media professionals. "Sensitive" issues are simply not dealt with, or are handled superficially.

"Free Expression in Daily Life: Between Fear and Survival"

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