Radio Canal Satellite in Tshikapa, Democratic Republic of Congo, was ordered off the air on 9 June by government agents who accused the station of “intoxicating the population” and “broadcasting in bad French.”
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which has protested the closure, Radio Canal Satellite was the sixth Congolese broadcaster to be raided by security forces this year because of its coverage. Local press freedom group Journaliste en Danger (JED) helped bring the case to wider attention.
“The world’s jails would be full if bad French were a crime,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Clearly Congolese authorities are making it up as they go along and using any pretext to shut down independent broadcasters. We call on authorities to allow Radio Canal Satellite back on the air immediately.”
The agents confiscated equipment after the station’s staff fled the studios fearing arrest, according to CPJ and local reports.
According to local reports and CPJ, the raid was initiated by a local Agence Nationale de Renseignements congolaise (ANR) intelligence agency official after a report on pay disputes between Congolese workers and Lebanese employers in Kinshasa. The ANR has no authority to regulate media content under Congolese law.