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Private television station's transmission signal cut in DR Congo

(JED/IFEX) - 11 September 2012 - Journaliste en Danger (JED) is angered by the abrupt and unjustified cut to Radio Lisanga Télévision's (RLTV) transmission signal. RLTV is one of the most popular private broadcasters in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The network is owned by Roger Lumbala, a national deputy and influential member of the opposition.

More than five days after the incident, neither the national media regulator (CSAC), nor the ministry in charge of media have taken responsibility for the action.
JED believes that this was an act of treason and cowardice by the secret services, unworthy of the republic they claim to lead towards modernity.
This is the umpteenth attack against opposition-related media; it demonstrates a political will to muzzle the press and reveals the establishment of a pensée unique. Such a trend flagrantly violates the DRC's constitution and the international legal contracts it is bound to.

RLTV's transmission signal cut occurred on Thursday, 6 September, 2012 at around 10 pm. At that time, the channel was airing a show called "Tokomi Wapi," ("Where have we gotten to?") One of the guests on the show was José Makila, a national deputy and member of the opposition. During the show, Makila denounced "the secret accord" that President Joseph Kabila and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagama were going to sign. The accord - which concerns the deployment of Rwandan troops to the DRC – would have been signed behind the backs of parliament and the public. Makila thus accused president Kabila of "high treason."

A supervisor for RLTV told JED that up until now, the relevant authorities have not provided the network with an official reason for cutting their transmission signal. "The director of the cabinet ministry for media relations told us that he was not informed of the transmission signal cut to RLTV," she said. "However, the manager of Télé Consult (an Italian telecommunications company that manages radio and television frequencies in Kinshasa) told us that their superiors instructed them to cut our transmission signal," she added.

A CSAC staff member said he was not aware of the transmission signal cut. "We don't have a file on the RLTV transmission signal cut at CSAC," he said.

Dieu Merci Mutombo, Director of the cabinet ministry for media said that a file on RLTV cannot be processed at his level. "This file is found at another level..." he said.

The above statements confirm the illegal and arbitrary nature of RLTV's transmission signal cut. JED encourages RLTV's management to report this case to the authorities immediately, and to demand compensation for the damage it has caused.

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