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Democratic Republic of Congo14 August 2007

Two state TV union activists freed after paying bail

Journalists Vincent Hata and Michel Shango of state-owned RadioTélévision Nationale Congolaise (RTNC) were freed by a Kinshasa court on 11 August after paying bail of 120 dollars each.

They were arrested on 26 July for union activity and were taken before the prosecutor’s office on 8 August. A third RTNC journalist who was arrested with them, Eugène Risasi Ntambwe, was released on 31 July.


2.08.2007 - One of several detained state TV union activists released after five days

Reporters Without Borders hails the release of Eugène Risasi Ntambwe of state-owned RadioTélévision Nationale Congolaise (RTNC) on 31 July after he had been held for five days because of his union activities. He was not charged.

He told the Reporters Without Borders partner organisation, Journalist in Danger (JED), he was stripped of his shoes, handcuffed and whipped 30 times while held in a military camp. He was transferred on 28 July to cells inside the headquarters of the police Directorate for General Intelligence and Special Services (DRGS), which is known as “Kin Mazière.”

He added that Vincent Hata and Michel Shango, two other journalists who were arrested with him, were still being held “for further investigation.”


30.07.2007 - Four state TV union activists transferred to cells at police intelligence HQ

Reporters Without Borders deplores the continuing detention of journalists Vincent Hata, Michel Shango and Eugène Risasi Ntambwe of the public broadcaster RadioTélévision Nationale Congolaise (RTNC), who were arrested for union activism on 26 and 27 July.

The Reporters Without Borders partner organisation in Democratic Republic of Congo, Journalist in Danger (JED), said a fourth RTNC journalist, Makolo Tshilumbayi, was arrested at the same time as the other three and for the same reason.

A member of the police Directorate for General Intelligence and Special Services (DRGS) told JED that the four unionists were charged with “publicly insulting the president, trying to destabilised RTNC and discrediting the government by launching a strike.”

After initially being held in a Republican Guard military camp, Tshilumbayi, Hata, Shango and Ntambwe were transferred today to the detention centre at DRGS headquarters known as “Kin Mazière.”


28.07.2007 - Three state TV journalists detained because of union activities

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the arrest of three journalists employed by the public broadcaster RadioTélévision Nationale Congolaise (RTNC) - Vincent Hata, Michel Shango and Eugene Risasi Ntambwe - who are being held by the Republican Guard on the orders of the head of the RTNC because of their union activities. They were arrested on 26 and 27 July.

“Illegal arrests are on the increase,” the press freedom organisation said. “The Congolese constitution recognises trade union freedom. It is a key element of labour rights and a corollary of free opinion. The RTNC chief’s allegations against Hata, Shango and Ntambwe do not seem to have any serious basis. Furthermore, we fear that they could be mistreated. They should therefore be released at once.”

The Reporters Without Borders partner organisation in Democratic Republic of Congo, Journalist in Danger (JED), said Hata, Shango and Ntambwe were arrested at the behest of RTNC general manager Emmanuel Kipolongo, who accused them of “preparing a meeting with a view to destroying the public TV station’s installations .”

In an interview with JED, the RTNC’s chief union representative rejected the allegations and said the three journalists had just been trying to organise a general meeting with a few view to demanding additional rights for the station’s employees. The RTNC management and union representatives have at been at loggerheads for several months.

The three journalists were transferred to detentions cells inside a Republican Guard camp on the night of 27 July.



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