Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala
Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, deputy director of publication for Congolese news website and a reporter for Reuters and Jeune Afrique, was arrested on September 8, 2023, in Kinshasa, for allegedly spreading false information. (Photo: Courtesy of Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala)

Ahead of expected verdict, CPJ calls prosecution of DRC journalist Stanis Bujakera ‘outrageous’

New York, March 14, 2024—Ahead of an expected verdict in the prosecution of Congolese journalist Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala on March 20 and in light of recent testimony presented by the court’s technical expert on March 8, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement on Thursday.

“The prosecution of journalist Stanis Bujakera has been outrageous from the start and should have never reached a stage where he may be convicted to two decades in prison, especially since a technical expert has thrown serious doubt on Bujakera’s involvement in the alleged crime,” said Angela Quintal, Head of CPJ’s Africa Program. “The over six months since Bujakera’s arrest have been a chilling reminder that journalists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are under constant threat of arrest. Authorities should act swiftly to reform the country’s laws to protect, not constrain the press.”

Bujakera, a Congolese citizen and a permanent U.S. resident, worked as a correspondent for privately owned Jeune Afrique and Reuters news agency, while also being deputy director of publication for the DRC-based news website He was arrested by police in Kinshasa, the DRC’s capital, on September 8, 2023, and authorities charged him with spreading falsehoods, forgery, the use of forged documents, and distributing false documents under the combined application of the DRC’s penal code and a new digital code and press law.

During a hearing on March 8, the public prosecutor in Bujakera’s case requested that the journalist be convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined one million Congolese francs ($361), one of Bujakera’s lawyers, Ndikulu Yana, told CPJ. During that hearing, the report of a technical expert commissioned by the court presented findings that suggested Bujakera was not the principal source of a document that the DRC intelligence service has said is false, according to media reports.

A verdict is expected in the case on March 20, according to Yana and those reports.