Democratic republic of Congo suspends popular radio



By Godfrey Olukya 5-12-2012

Several media and humanitarian organizations have condemned authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo for suspending the United Nations- sponsored broadcaster Radio Okapi.

Radio Okapi is reportedly the most popular radio in Democratic republic of Congo. It is the only radio which effectively covers the whole country.

The radio was shut off by the government on Saturday. Many Congolese are not happy about the closure of the radio which they most listen to.

‘In this modern era it is out of order to suspend the operations of a radio’ said Vitali Zombo, a leader of Congolese radio listeners association. ‘It does not make sense closing down a radio which is most heard by civilians. I do not think the radio aired any thing bad.’

The Committee to Protect Journalists also requested the government to lift the suspension imposed on Radio Okapi.

According to Jean Bosco Bahala, the president of the state-run national media regulatory agency, Radio Okapi was suspended because of administrative noncompliance. The station was accused of failing to submit certain documents to the agency for review.

However there are sources claiming that the radio was closed because last Thursday it aired an interview with Jean-Marie Runiga, the leader of the M23 rebels controlling parts of eastern Democratic republic of Congo.

The M23 rebels are former Congolese army officers who mutinied from the ranks in March this year and seized key towns in the eastern North Kivu province.

During the interview with Radio Okapi, Runiga criticized President Joseph Kabila’s handling of peace talks with the rebels and called for the arrest of John Numbi, the national police chief, in connection with the murder of activist Floribert Chebeya.


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