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Fifty years of independence see no improvement in difficulties for media, say JED and RSF

(RSF/IFEX) - 29 June 2010 - Reporters Without Borders and Journalist in Danger (JED), its partner organisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are alarmed about the situation of press freedom in this country on the eve of the 50th anniversary of its independence. As many foreign leaders arrive in Kinshasa for tomorrow's celebrations, the two organisations call on the Congolese authorities and the international community to work together to improve the climate for journalists.

In particular, they call on Belgium - which will be represented by King Albert at the celebrations and which takes over the European Union's rotating president on 1 July - to ensure that the issue of the safety of journalists in the DRC and in central Africa in general is on the EU's agenda.

"It would be incomprehensible and unacceptable if the independence anniversary celebrations were to limit themselves to a complacent review of the past 50 years and were to hide the difficulties of the present and the challenges of the future," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. "Journalists working in the DRC are exposed to an extremely hazardous environment including the possibility of murder or imprisonment. The time has come to loosen the vice that is throttling freedom of information."

Journalist in Danger president Donat M'Baya Tshimanga added: "Aside from the celebrations and festivities, this golden jubilee should serve to highlight the problem of democracy in our country, which is now in retreat after the hopes raised by the 2006 election."

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