APRIL 4, 2005
Posted: April 13, 2005

Journaliste en Danger (JED)

Tshivis Tshivuadi, secretary-general of the Kinshasa-based press freedom organization Journaliste en Danger, received an email containing death threats against him and Donat M’baya Tshimanga, JED’s president, and their families. The threats sparked concern amongst JED staff as well as local media organizations.

According to local sources, the threat came one day after Tshivuadi gave an interview to Radio France Internationale (RFI) in which he alleged that politicians in the DRC were seeking to control local broadcasters during the preparations for general elections, scheduled for June 2005.

The first sentence of the email received by Tshivuadi reads “Since you and your friend M’baya continue to betray the nation by your false campaigns against the DRC… we would like to inform you that the hour of repentance is near.” It also threatened to hold the journalists’ families responsible for “all the evil that you have caused the nation.”

“We will see how RFI, the Americans, or your friend Menard [Reporters without Borders secretary-general Robert Menard] will save you,” the email continued and was signed “commander Mbonge Munene” which, translated, means “violent wind.”

Tshivuadi and M’baya believed that this latest threat was part of a pattern of intimidation against their organization. Over the previous year, they had been maligned by a talk show host on the public broadcaster, RTNC, and targeted by the private, Kinshasa-based newspaper Le Grognon. In a piece titled “Is JED Endangering the Congo?” Le Grogon had excoriated JED’s efforts to stop the harassment of 11 local journalists who, in an effort to interview Rwandan officials for a story, were ultimately accused by Press and Information Minister Henri Mova Sakanyi of spreading Rwandan propaganda.