Publisher enters 5th day of detention

New York, July 15, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is troubled by the continued detention of Jean Marie Kanku, publisher of the private newspaper L’Alerte in the capital, Kinshasa.

Kanku has been charged with criminal defamation stemming from a July 8 article alleging that a DRC official had misused humanitarian reconstruction funds, according to the Kinshasa-based press freedom organization Journaliste en Danger (JED). The article cited a “Norwegian human rights group” for its information.

Kanku was arrested on July 11 and was being held today in a cell at the public prosecutor’s office in the Kinshasa neighborhood of Gombe, JED reported.

“Journalists in DRC are often arrested when they anger powerful figures, including members of government,” said Ann Cooper, CPJ’s executive director. “Jean Marie Kanku should be released immediately.”