Congolese journalist jailed for insulting governor
A reporter named Steeve Mwanyo Iwewe, who works with the
privately owned broadcaster Radio Television Sarah, was convicted
on March 1 in the Mbandaka criminal court on a charge of insulting
Équateur Governor Bobo Boloko Bolumbu.
According to a statement signed by Committee to Protect
Journalists (CPJ) and distributed by APO Group noted that
authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should not oppose
journalist Iwewe’s appeal of a year-long prison sentence for insulting
a provincial governor, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on
According to Souverain Pontife Ikolombe, the journalist’s lawyer,
who spoke with CPJ. Iwewe was sentenced to one year in prison and
instructed to pay $200 in damages to Bolumbu, his lawyer said;
Iwewe is currently in Mbandaka central prison, where he has been
detained since his arrest on February 27.
Ikolombe told CPJ that he will appeal the judgment tomorrow at the
Tribunal de Paix de Mbandaka appeals court, alleging that the
original trial was improperly held.
Iwewe is the first journalist CPJ is aware of having been imprisoned
in the country since president Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo
took office on January 24.
Responding to the situation, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator,
Angela Quintal said that the Democratic Republic of Congo may have
a new president, but it seems the ambition to censor journalists
whom the authorities find undesirable is unchanged, “Governor
Bolumbu should not contest Iwewe’s appeal, so his conviction can
be overturned and he can be released,” she said.
Iwewe was arrested and beaten by the governor’s security agents on
February 27 in Mbandaka while covering Bolumbu’s arrival at a
protest against an increase in state taxes, according to his lawyer.
Security officers told Iwewe to stop filming and taking photographs,
but the journalist refused, Ikolombe told CPJ.
“You came here to do your work, let me also do mine freely,” Iwewe
told the officers when they told him to stop reporting, according to
local press freedom group Journaliste en Danger. The governor then
ordered Iwewe’s arrest for insulting him, Ikolombe told CPJ.
CPJ’s repeated calls and WhatsApp messages to Bolumbu
spokesperson Rossi Bolekwa went unanswered. CPJ also called
Trésor Nsaebeinga, the director of Radio Television Sarah, but did
not get a response.
The lawyer said that Nsaebeinga and Yanick Mbombo, another
reporter at the station, had gone into hiding for fear of arrest
following Iwewe’s detention.
Thats is the rule of Law.
Hmmm law at work
You came here to do your work, let me also do mine freely,