The murder of Michel Hangi, a radio technician working with the community radio Le Soleil Levant, on July 17, 2022, in Nyiragongo, in the region of North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), reflect the risks of violence facing journalists and media workers in the country.
The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for media freedom, condemns this killing and demands that authorities investigate and hold accountable those behind it to end the impunity for attacks on journalists and media workers.
Hangi was killed while he was on his way returning to his house after his interactive radio program. He was hit by bullets fired by unknown armed individuals.
According to the local press defense group JED, what led to the killing of Hangi, who is also known as Parachichi Mukasaii on the theater stage, is unclear. He is also popularly known for his commercial announcements through motorized campaigns.
However, this murder is not an isolated one in the media landscape of DRC, where journalists and media workers face assaults and attacks from both state security forces and armed groups.
Last year, three journalists were murdered in DRC, according to UNESCO statistics. On August 14, 2021, Joël Musavuli a broadcaster journalist and director of a community radio andtelevision station, Radiotélévision communautaire Babombi (RTCB), was murdered in the area of Bakayoko, in his house in Rutshuru, a town in the province of North Kivu, by machete-wielding, unknown individuals. The journalist’s wife was also killed in the incident.
In addition, in the province of North Kivu, one week before the murder of Musavuli, Heritier Magayane, who worked with Radio-Television Nationale Congolaise (RTNC), was also murdered by unidentified assailants on August 7, 2021, in a small village, Bunyangula, located about 70 km from Goma, the capital city of the province of North Kivu.
A third journalist killed in 2021 was Barthelemy Kubanabandu Changamuka, a broadcast journalist with Kitshanga Community Radio (CORAKI FM). Changamuka was killed by unknown armed individuals, in the province of North Kivu. According to reports, Changamuka was shot dead at gunpoint with eight bullets in his home just after going off air.
As of now, no findings of investigations into these killings have been made public. The perpetrators of these murders remain free, with total impunity for their crimes as authorities have failed to uphold their duty to protect the safety of journalists by thoroughly investigating these crimes and holding the culprits accountable.
‘’Impunity for assaults and crimes against journalists and media workers encourages further violence’’, said IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen. ‘’DRC authorities must demonstrate their commitment to the safety of journalist by investigating these murders and holding accountable the perpetrators of these crimes.”