In advance of International Human Rights Day, MONUC sponsored an awards ceremony for six journalists from the Association of Congolese Journalists for Peace (AJCP). The ceremony took place last Friday in Kinshasa, in the presence of several MONUC officials and representatives from the Congolese media.
According to Benoît Kambere, national coordinator of the AJCP, this ceremony is an opportunity for the AJCP “to innovate while rewarding modestly those journalists who distinguish themselves.”
For Louis-Marie Bouaka, deputy director of the Joint MONUC Human Rights office in the DRC, this ceremony was also an opportunity to put “the focus on the liberty of the press, one of the fundamental principles of the democratic system, on which rests the liberty of opinion and expression.”
Kambere said that “nowadays, it is not an exaggeration to say that the concepts of the media, human rights and freedom of speech are inseparable.”
Unfortunately in the DRC, the exercise of the journalistic profession is not always safe. Bouaka, underlined that since 2006, seven journalists have been murdered because of their work, affecting the performance of other journalists.
However Bouaka laid emphasis on the role of the media concerning de-marginalization and citizenship that consists in “understanding that the liberty of the press doesn’t limit itself to reporting the facts and commenting on them; the press also has a big responsibility to give the public the information and knowledge to participate actively in the political life of the country.”
For him, the awarding of prizes to AJCP journalists is justified by their contribution to the process of supporting peace in the DRC.
Bouaka said that a journalist must be able to practice their profession without fear.
“They must be able to move freely to establish the facts and to collect different points of view, to distribute news, to call to account those in power and to be allowed to protect their sources.”
The prize winners were: Patricia Amuli of Antenna A, Philémon Longonya of RTGA, Lydie Mangungu of RLTV, D. Ndomba of the RNTC, Adele Luizi and Nkiere from the ACPJ and Eyenga Sana of Le Potential. The PAREC also received a prize.
The Association of Congolese Journalists for Peace (AJCP) was established on 21 September 2005, on the occasion of the 24th International Day of Peace. It is a framework for the training, information and sensitization of Congolese journalists on peace, human rights, and on the rights and liberty of the press.