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Démocratic Republic of Congo5 January 2006

Provincial police chief threatens Radio Okapi journalist in Kisangani

Reporters Without Borders wrote to the Democratic Republic of Congo interior minister today calling on the federal authorities to step in to protect José de Chartes Menga of privately-owned Radio Okapi in the northeastern city of Kisangani, who has been threatened by the provincial police chief, Gen. Ignace Mongedjo.

“A difference of views between the authorities and the press is not necessarily a problem, but we are alarmed by the police chief’s threatening attitude in this case, especially as 2005 was a grim year for press freedom in Democratic Republic of Congo,” the organisation said.

“After the murders of two journalists and an attempt on the life of a third journalist, Radio Okapi’s Jean Ngandu in Lubumbashi, we insist on the need for all Congolese public officials to show moderation,” Reporters Without Borders added.

Threats to arrest De Chartes Menga were made in Gen. Mongedjo’s office in the presence of an information officer from the Fondation Hirondelle on 30 December. The threats were prompted by a report about tension within the provincial police command in Kisangani. Other threats have reportedly been made against him since then, and he fears for his safety.

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