The reported reason for this threat was JED’s launch of their 8th annual report on the State of the Media in Central Africa. This report was launched on December 9th, International Human Rights day. Most of the report, according to JED, was dedicated to transgressions of freedom of expression and media freedom in the DRC.
A central theme in this part of the report was the recent murder of journalist Franck Ngyke Kangundu and his wife. One of the sons of the journalist was also severely wounded during the attack. Journaliste en Danger denounces the statements made by the police that it was a robbery that ended in murder. According to a statement made by the son of the murdered journalist, Franck Kangundu allegedly offered money to his assailants, who had been waiting for him in front of his house for some time. The assailants reportedly rejected the offer, stated that they were sent to kill him, and opened fire on Kangudu and his wife. JED has requested an independent inquire into the murder.
JED’s report received wide attention in the local press and international organisations such as IFEX and Reporters Without Borders have taken up the case. The day after publication of the report, four JED staff received an sms warning them that they ‘would disappear one by one, if they would not announce an end to their activities publicly’. JED was given an ultimatum of 10 days, after which time the sender indicated that ‘we would take action, and that this could also include your loved ones’.
This is not the first time JED staff have been intimidated. Earlier in the year JED’s President and Secretary General also received threats. This was in response to JED denouncing a journalist of the Congolese National Broadcaster for inciting hatred and violence towards certain ethnic groups in one of his televised programs.
See also 'Journaliste en Danger',
Report: JED-Rapport_2005_9Déc2005.pdf (6267 Kb)
See also Press release ‘Reporters without Borders’ 14th December 2005
See also JED press release on the murder of Franck Kangundu, 3rd November 2005 (french)