Skyline International Calls for the Immediate Release of DRC Journalist Stanis Bujakera
Stockholm: Skyline International strongly urges the immediate release of journalist Stanis Bujakera, who is currently detained in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Bujakera, a reporter affiliated with the privately owned Jeune Afrique news website and Reuters, and the deputy director of publication for the local news website Actualite.cd, was arrested by two Congolese national police officers at N’djili international airport in Kinshasa, the capital, on Friday, September 8, at approximately 10:30 p.m.
The arrest of Mr. Bujakera is deeply concerning, and Skyline International condemns any actions that threaten the freedom of the press and the rights of journalists to report on matters of public interest. Skyline International demands the immediate and unconditional release of Stanis Bujakera.
According to reports from the privately owned Le Congo Libere news website and information provided by Hervé Diakiese, Bujakera's legal counsel, the officers apprehended Bujakera and subsequently transported him to a local police station. During this process, they confiscated his two mobile phones and laptop computer. He now faces charges of "spreading false rumors" and "disseminating false information," as reported by these sources.
Hervé Diakiese informed that Bujakera's case had been transferred to the office of the Kinshasa-Gombe public prosecutor for further investigation.
Skyline International expresses deep concern over Bujakera's arrest. We emphasize the urgent need for Mr. Bujakera's release and call for legal reforms in the DRC to prevent the unjust criminalization of journalism and the incarceration of journalists.
It has come to light, through the reports by Jeune Afrique and Actualité.cd, that while in police custody on Saturday, September 9, Bujakera was subjected to several hours of interrogation by officials who are investigating the July murder of former Congolese Transport Minister Chérubin Okende. The focus of the questioning was a Jeune Afrique report, published on August 31, that raised pertinent questions about the potential involvement of military intelligence in Okende's murder. Notably, the report did not directly attribute its content to Bujakera but indicated that it was authored by Jeune Afrique.
On September 4, the DRC's Minister of Communication and Media, Patrick Muyaya, categorically rejected Jeune Afrique's August 31 report as "totally false." The following day, Peter Kazadi, the deputy prime minister and minister of interior, security, and customary affairs, wrote a letter to Jeune Afrique's leadership, as reviewed by Skyline International, discrediting the same article as "false information."
Separately, on August 18, police forcibly entered the offices of the privately owned Perfect TV broadcaster in Kinshasa, arresting the outlet's director general, Peter Tiani. Tiani was detained overnight at a local police station. His arrest was related to investigations into Okende's murder, with police labeling him as an "informer." He was released without conditions the day following his arrest.
According to media reports and a police invitation reviewed by Skyline International, police had summoned Tiani on July 18 regarding a post on X (formerly Twitter) that police alleged he had published, claiming Okende was abducted before his murder. Tiani denied making such a post and had not reported to the police at that time.