Press activists want Pres. Joseph Kabila grant pardon to jailed scribes

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By Robert Mugabe

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) yesterday joined the Central African Press Union (USYPAC in French) to call on DRC President Joseph Kabila to grant presidential pardon for three journalists in Jail.

“We call on authorities in DRC to release our three colleagues arrested after being accused of collaboration with the armed guerillas movements. Their place is not definitely in prisons. Their release would be a great act of press freedom promotion,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director.

According to USYPAC, the three journalists for whom presidential pardon are requested are Palata a journalist with Congolese Channel CCTV sentenced for 20 years in prison and accused of being involved in the case of General Faustin Munene who was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment by a military court for forming a rebellion in Bas-Congo province.

There are also Fortunat Kasongo and Pierre Sosthène Kambidi accused of collaboration with armed rebels’ movements.

USYPAC made this call during a two days regional workshop sponsored by IFJ LOTCO project held in Kinshasa on September 19-20 with the objective to discuss the future of media in Central Africa.

“The presidential pardon would be a great sign from the authorities in respecting human rights and promoting press freedom, at the eve of the 14th French speaking countries Summit in Kinshasa from 12 to 14 October,” said Stanis Nkundiye, USYPAC President.

Participants of the Kinshasa workshop also call on DRC, Gabon and Cameroon, all French speaking countries to put into practice the Florence Agreement and to decriminalize press offenses as it is the case in Congo and Chad.

“Such a decision will help promote populations’ access to information and help media play a key role in building and consolidating participatory democracy,” added Nkundiye.

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