New York, September 22, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the charging and ongoing detention of journalist Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala and calls on Congolese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him.
On September 8, police officers arrested Bujakera, a reporter for the privately owned Jeune Afrique news website and Reuters, as well as deputy director of publication for the local news website Actualite.cd, and accused him of “spreading false rumors” and “disseminating false information.”
“DRC authorities must drop all legal proceedings against journalist Stanis Bujakera, release him, and reform the country’s laws to ensure journalists are never arrested or jailed for their work,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, from Durban, South Africa. “The additional charges against Bujakera, who is internationally renowned for his reporting, are only the most recent, glaring example of the harassment and criminalization faced by DRC journalists.”
The charges relate to an August 31 Jeune Afrique report about military intelligence’s possible involvement in the murder of former Congolese Transport Minister Chérubin Okende that did not name Bujakera as the author, and the outlet said he did not write.
Bujakera has been charged under the combined application of the DRC’s digital code, press law, and penal code, which all criminalize the online sharing of information deemed false, Diakiese said.
During a press conference on Tuesday, September 19, in New York, DRC President Félix Tshisekedi said he would not intervene in Bujakera’s case, citing the separation of powers between the justice system and the executive branch.