DRC : journalist beaten by intelligence officers in Kikwit

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) joins Journalist in Danger (JED), its partner organization in Democratic Republic of Congo, in condemning the beating that Radio Tomisa journalist Badylon Kawanda received from members of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) in the southwestern city of Kikwit on 14 April. RSF calls on the Congolese authorities to investigate this attack without delay so that those responsible can be punished.


Here is the press release that JED published on 20 of April:


"Badylon Kawanda, a journalist with Radio Tomisa, a religious radio station based in Kikwit, the capital of the southwestern province of Kwilu, was physically attacked on 14 April in the provincial headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) by the head of the office and his staff.



According to the information obtained by Journalist in Danger (JED), Kawanda went to the ANR provincial office to ask about a freight agency employee who was being held there after a reported scuffle with a taxi driver. After giving his name, Kawanda was hit several times by the head of this provincial office, who then ordered his employees to “thrash” him. They threw Kawanda to the ground, causing him to wrench a knee, and smashed his journalistic equipment.



Reached by telephone, Kawanda told JED that he lodged a formal complaint about the attack with the military and civilian authorities in Kikwit. “All of the authorities that I personally contacted after this disgraceful attack promised me that they would raise it with the local ANR chief,” he said. “I am still waiting to learn what action has been taken in response to my complaint.”



An ANR official refused to talk to JED when reached by telephone.



JED voices a vehement protest against this disgraceful act of violence, which constitutes a grave attack on media freedom, especially as its was committed by persons in position of public authority.



JED calls on ANR general administrator Kalev Mutond to order an immediate investigation with the aim of identifying and punishing those responsible for this barbarous act. It calls on the authorities of the new province of Kwilu to urgently guarantee the safety of media personnel so that they are free to work as reporters.



JED points out that it was due to the repeated abuses against Congolese journalists by member of the security services that the DRC is now ranked 152nd out of 180 countries in the latest World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF)."