The International Press Institute (IPI) welcomes the release of journalist Joseph Kazadi Kamwanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but condemns his arbitrary arrest and three-week detention as a serious press freedom violation. We also call on authorities to release all other journalists who are still in prison in the country because of their journalism work.
Joseph Kazadi Kamwanga and Nicholas Niarchos, an American journalist, were arrested in Lubumbashi on July 13 and transferred and detained in Kinshasa. On July 19, authorities released Niarchos, while keeping Kamwanga in detention.
On August 4, following protests by IPI and other press freedom groups, authorities in the DRC released journalist Kazadi after 22 days of arbitrary detention by elements of the national service intelligence agency, Agence Nationale de Renseignement (ANR).
Meanwhile, Patrick Lola and Christian Bofaya, two independent journalists, were arrested on January 10, 2022, while reporting on a protest. They have been held since in the central prison of Mbandaka, in Equateur Province.
In addition, the local press freedom NGO Observatoire de la Liberté de la Presse en Afrique (OLPA) told IPI that Been Mbiyavanga, a journalist working with Pourim TV broadcasting from Kinshasa, is also behind bars in the central prison of Makala. IPI is currently working to research further details about this case.
‘’We welcome the release of journalist Joseph Kazadi Kamwanga, but we stress that he and his colleague Nicholas Niarchos should never have been detained in the first place’’ said IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen. ‘’Authorities in the DRC should release all other detained journalists in and ensure journalists can do their work without interference, fear, or reprisal.”