Reporters without borders has protested against the arrest of Dieudonné Karl Nawezi, a journalist with the sports department of Radio-télévision nationale congolaise (RTNC), Congo’s national radio and television service in Katanga. Mr. Nawezi is accused of having broadcast propaganda for Katebe Katoto, a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic. Dieudonné Karl Nawezi reported from South Africa on a football match between a South African team and the Congolese team, the Tout-Puissant Mazembe (the All-Powerful Mazembe), whose supporters were wearing t-shirts showing a picture of the club’s former director, Mr. Katoto.
"In December 2001, a journalist was detained for eight days for having interviewed the director of the Tout-Puissant Mazembe. For the authorities, reports on this football club are tantamount to propaganda for Mr. Kabila’s political opponent", said Robert Ménard, Secretary General of Reporters without Borders, in letters addressed to the President of the Republic, Joseph Kabila, and the head of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR). "Dieudonné Karl Nawezi has been imprisoned for doing his job as a journalist. This is a serious violation of human rights, and we urge you to release him immediately", added Mr. Ménard.
Mr. Nawezi was arrested on 7 May 2002 by two ANR agents and transferred to intelligence service cells. Reporters Without Borders also gave a reminder that Frédéric Kitingie, sports correspondent with Radio France Internationale (RFI) in Johannesburg (South Africa) was arrested by ANR agents on 5 December 2001. He was interrogated about an interview he had carried out with the President of the Tout-Puissant Mazembe club, Moïse Katumbi, who is Katebe Katoto’s brother. The ANR agents apparently questioned him specifically about his links with Katebe Katoto. He was released on 13 December 2001.