Sunday, May 21, 2017

#DeutscheWelle Journalist arrested in #DRCongo - #Burundi #Nkurunziza #MediaFreedom

Burundian journalist working for Deutsche Welle, Antideteste Niragira called his family at midday on 19 May to tell them he had been arrested by intelligence agents in DRC. The family believes he is being held in dungeons controlled by the intelligence services in South Kivu, across the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
According to his spouse, he would be detained in the Intelligence Services’ dungeons in the “Sud Kivu” in the DRC.
“When he calls me and tells that he was arrested by the Intelligence services’ agents and is filing a form for grievance”, says his wife.
Antideteste Niragira has been missing over two days, according to his colleagues at BBC. “He left for the Democratic Republic of Congo for a one-day work mission,” says a BBC colleague. Niragira called his wife when he finished the formalities at the Burundi-Congolese border in Gatumba (north-west of the capital) on 17 May on his way into DRC. “Until Friday in the morning, he has not yet returned”, says his wife. His family and colleagues don’t know the reason for his arrest.
On 13 October 2015, Egide Mwemero, a technician at the “Radio Publique Africaine-RPA”, a private radio station that was destroyed in an arson attack on 14 May 2015, was arrested in Uvira and imprisoned in Kinshasa for several months.
In a report published by the Reporters without Borders [RSF] on 17 May, it continues to be very difficult for journalists to work in Burundi. “Scores of journalists are still living in exile while those still operating in Burundi are often threatened because of their profession and are often accused of working for news media outside the country”, the report said.
RSF adds that journalists are subject to constant restrictions and, when travelling anywhere to cover something, they must first notify the local authorities of their presence.
Jean Bigirimana, an Iwacu journalist, has been missing since 22 July 2016. Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of RSF’s Africa desk, says light must be shone on Bigirimana’s disappearance. “An investigation was launched in order to mollify his fellow journalists and family but seems to have been abandoned”, told Cléa to RSF.
Burundi is now ranked 160th out of 180 countries in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index, after falling another four places in the past year.

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