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Screenings of documentary on assassinated human rights activist banned

UPDATE: DRC denies entry to Belgian journalist and filmmaker (CPJ, 10 July 2012)

(JED/IFEX) - Kinshasa, 9 April 2012 - Journaliste en Danger (JED) is concerned by the authorities' country-wide ban on screenings of Belgian filmmaker Thierry Michel's lastest documentary, "The Chebeya Affair: State Crime?" The film examines the circumstances surrounding the trial of the killers of Floribert Chebeya, the president of the leading DRC human rights group La Voix des Sans Voix. Chebeya was killed on 1 June 2010.

Justice and Human Rights Minister Luzolo Bambi criticised the film for its "partial title" and sequences "that are insulting to the head of state." He said the ban would remain in effect until the filmmaker "takes these observations into consideration."

In JED's view, irrespective of one's opinion of the film, nothing can justify a blanket ban. The film has been the subject of broad debate beyond the country's borders. Bearing in mind the sense of shock that followed Chebeya's asassination and the wide-ranging reactions to Michel's documentary to date, JED urges the authorities to demonstrate a more tolerant attitude and lift the ban on screenings of the film. Congolese audiences also deserve the right to debate the controversial issues raised in the film.

Please note this is an abridged translation.

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