POSTED March 16, 2007
Lambert Kasereka Sekera, RTNC
Norbert Kambalé, RTNC
Radio Télévision Graben
Kasereka and Kambalé, hosts of a morning news show on state-run broadcaster Radio Télévision Nationale Congolaise (RTNC) in the eastern town of Butembo in the North Kivu province, were arrested in their studio during a broadcast critical of the local mayor, according to local journalists. About thirty police officers sealed off the station’s offices and seized staff’s mobile phones, causing the station to go off the air, station manager Nestor Kasereka Tsongo told CPJ.
The broadcast was critical of the local mayor’s response to a citywide strike protesting prevailing violence in Butembo, according to Tsongo. The journalists were taken to the mayor’s office and ordered to censor their reporting, according to Kinshasa-based press freedom group Journaliste en Danger. They were released after four hours following the intervention of provincial authorities, according to local journalists. The station resumed broadcasting shortly thereafter.
Radio Télévision Graben, a private broadcaster in Butembo, was also raided and a staffer was detained by police for a few hours in connection with similar broadcasts, station director Kennedy Wema Muhindo told CPJ.