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Kinshasa-based broadcaster back on the air after three-month closure

(JED/IFEX) - Kinshasa, 1 March 2012 - On 29 February 2012, Kinshasa-based broadcaster Radio Lisanga Télévision (RLTV) was finally allowed back on the air. In a letter signed by Communications and Media Minister Lambert Mende, station management was informed that it could begin broadcasting again following a three-month closure. The letter stated that unspecified legal action against the station had been dismissed. RLTV is the main pro-opposition broadcaster in the DRC. The media regulator, the CSAC (Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel et la Communication), had interrupted the station's signal in Kinshasa on 3 December 2011.

JED regrets that the ministerial letter did not include an apology. The organisation is dismayed by the station's unjustified three-month closure, which highlights the authorities' contempt for media and the thousands of people who were denied news broadcasts over several months.

RLTV was initially accused of reporting results from the 28 November presidential and legislative elections before official results had been compiled and announced by the country's independent electoral commission. As a result, the broadcaster was handed a week-long suspension. However, the station had remained off the air ever since, officially due to unspecified legal action undertaken by the government. JED believes the sole purpose of these measures was to silence a prominent opposition voice.

JED also notes that RLTV's provincial station in Mbuji-Mayi has been besieged by a police unit since 5 December and remains occupied to this day. Mbuji-Mayi is the main city in Kasaï Oriental province, western DRC.

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