UN deplores death threats against journalists in the DRC

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The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo denounced death threats against three journalists operating in the war-scarred country, warning that a free, diversified press is a prerequisite to the development of democracy.
“Death threats on journalists is an indication of a culture of impunity and intolerance likely to hamper efforts by the Congolese people toward a sustainable peace and sound democracy in their country,” the mission, known as MONUC, said in a statement, noting that three other reporters have already been murdered in the past two years.
“Ending impunity is the responsibility of the legitimate Government officials in place, nobody else. It is their duty and they are accountable before their people who have the legitimate right to demand access to reliable information which can only be made available by professional and responsible media.”
The three threatened journalists, all women – Delphie Namuto and Caddy Adzouba of Radio Okapi, a partnership between MONUC and the Swiss non-governmental Hirondelle Foundation, and Jolly Kamuntu of Radio Maendeleo – work in the South Kivu provincial capital of Bukavu in the DRC`s strife-torn east, where the other three journalists were murdered.
Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon`s Special Representative in DRC, Alain Doss, met with South Kivu Governor Louis Mudherwa, who “shared in my worries and assured me of his personal commitment.
“I have been encouraged by his reaction and commitment by national authorities in this regard,”
Doss added. “I would like somehow to call on the provincial and national judiciary officials to take the necessary actions to guarantee the safety of the journalists facing death threats to enable them to practice their profession without any obstacles,” he added.
Last month Bruno Koko Chirambiza, a journalist with Radio Star, was murdered in Bukavu. Didace Namujimbo and Serge Maheshe, both working for Radio Okapi, were killed in 2008 and 2007 respectively.
Doss said MONUC has always offered to assist the judiciary with specialized services and its experts. This offer is still available, he added, calling on the authorities to speed up the legal proceedings in the three murder cases “so that those who committed these heinous crimes are found and punished with the maximum severity the law allows.”

Pic: Journalist ”voicing” his opinion