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Arrest of DRC journalist Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala shakes journalists all over the world

Arrest of journalist Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala shakes journalists all over the world

The Freedom of the Press Committee of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) is dismayed over the news about the arrest of our colleague in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala.

Tshiamala, who is an IFAJ member through the Association de Journalistes Agricoles du Congo, is well known, highly respected and a thorough journalist. He is the deputy director of the Actualité news site and correspondent of the Reuters news agency and the French news magazine Jeune Afrique.

Tshiamala has been held since his arrest on Friday 8 September at Kinshasa-Ndjili airport. His phones and his laptop have been confiscated. According to the organization Journaliste en danger, he has been questioned for several hours on the premises of the Congolese national police by the commission investigating the murder last July of opposition MP and former transport minister Chérubin Okende Senga.

Tshiamala was taken to the Kinshasa public prosecutor’s office and placed under a provisional arrest warrant for “spreading false news and information”. He is accused of being involved in the distribution by Jeune Afrique of a report allegedly attributed to the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) implicating military intelligence in the assassination of Chérubin Okende Senga.

The report claims that soldiers with the military intelligence high command kidnapped and killed Senga on 13 July 2023.
The report distributed by Jeune Afrique has been described as “false” by the Congolese authorities, in particular the Minister of the Interior, in a letter of protest sent to Jeune Afrique.

Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala has denied being the author of the article, and it was not even signed by his name, but by “News staff”. Even if there might have been mistakes or wrong information in the article distributed by Jeune Afrique, it should not be a reason to arrest and hold a journalist, especially one who was not responsible for the report.

On behalf of IFAJ, the Freedom of the Press Committee demands the immediate release of our colleague and the return of his property.
On behalf of the committee.

Michael “Micke” Godtfredsen