The public prosecutor in the city of Bandundu, northeast of the capital Kinshasa, placed Ekiom and Ngiaba under arrest on criminal defamation charges based on a complaint filed by Boniface Ntwa, speaker of the provincial assembly, according to the the local press freedom group Observatoire de la Liberte de la Presse En Afrique .
The charges were based on November 2 commentary that Ekiom and Ngiaba aired as presenters and producers of the talk show “Référendum” on the local broadcaster Nzondo Télévision, the station’s news director, Natanaël Kadima, told CPJ. The journalists had commented on alleged attempts by some members of the provincial assembly to oust the speaker, Kadima said.
Ekiom is local correspondent for the Kinshasa-based private broadcasters Télé 50, and Ngiaba works for the weekly Kimpangi, also based in the capital, according to OLPA.
Both journalists were held in pre-trial detention at Bandudu’s central prison known as Cinquantennaire.