Ten Congolese journalists arrested in Kinshasa

The Committee to Protect Journalists in New York (CPJ) has reported the arrest of ten journalists working for the television production studio, Kin Lartus in Kinshasa by Congolese police officers. CPJ says the latest arrests are  part of a wider campaign of intimidation against the press ahead of the country’s upcoming elections.

Two plain-clothes police officers accompanied by at least twelve other armed officers entered the news production company’s studio and arrested ten of the journalists working on  Kin Lartus daily news show. The arrested journalists include Jean Jacques Kabeya, the director and chief editor; Herithier Mbula, a video editor; Fretas Mbamanku, a cameraperson; and reporters Doya Mayi, Ritha Musau, Jules Ntumba, Jazz Nyembo, Espérant Kabemba, Fretas Mbamnku, Issa Kazadi, and Grace Luntela.

Congolese journalists face threat of intimidation. Photo: John Bompengo

Kin Lartus‘ daily news show is broadcast on various channels in Kinshasa and the studio produces content for a variety of new outlets in the country.

A lawyer representing the journalists, Maki Makiese confirmed to Africanist Press today that the police officers also seized six laptops, three hard disks, two cameras, one tripod, and US$4,250 in cash when they raided the studio.

“We have only been able to get back some of the materials. They still have the hard disks, a computer, and a camera,” Makiese said.

Reports state that the police raid came after Petito Kilala, the promoter of a pro-government television program called Kilartus filed a civil lawsuit against Kin Lartus claiming that one of the production studio’s television shows wrongly used Kilartus‘ logo and name.

Makiese is quoted by CPJ to have said that he believed the raid was instigated by Kilala’s lawsuit, which CPJ said Kilala denied during an interview.

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