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RLTV signal cut following inflammatory remarks by presidential candidate

(JED/IFEX) - 7 November 2011 – JED is deeply concerned by the abrupt cut of the transmission signal of Radio Lisanga Télévision (RLTV), a private, pro-opposition channel based in Kinshasa. JED also condemns the incendiary remarks made by Etienne Tshisekedi, a presidential candidate for the November 2011 elections, which led to the decision to cut the station's signal, a move for which neither the High Council for Audiovisual and Communications (CSAC) nor the Ministry of Communications and Media has claimed responsibility.

Tshisekedi's remarks, which called on his followers to put other party supporters "in their place" and invited members of his party to "break into prisons to liberate opposition detainees", place media outlets and journalists who disseminate the information in a particularly difficult situation with respect to both the laws of the country and their own professional code of ethics, says JED.

According to information confirmed Monday morning by JED, RLTV's signal was cut as of 11 p.m. on 6 November, following the airing of a show referred to as "SET" (Support for Etienne Tshisekedi), during which Tshisekedi, via telephone from South Africa, proclaimed himself president - three weeks ahead of the scheduled 28 November elections.

Sources also told JED that following the broadcast of Tshisekedi's remarks, "SET" host Eliezer Thambwe received anonymous death threats that forced him to go into hiding. Moreover, an RLTV regional station in Kasaï Oriental province received a surprise visit from the director of the National Intelligence Services (ANR) on Monday morning, who reportedly threatened to close the station.

JED is very concerned by the escalation of insults and personal attacks reported by media in the nation's capital since the launch of the presidential and legislative campaigns last week.

JED calls for RLTV's signal to be reinstated and for media professionals to take responsibility by abstaining from actions liable to exacerbate tensions and to observe their professional code of ethics.

It was precisely to avoid such an escalation in tensions that JED launched its media monitoring programme for the elections last week. JED will not support any media outlet that blatantly incites hatred and violence.

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