IFJ Condemns Dismissal of Eight Journalists by Newspaper in DRC

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the dismissal of eight journalists at Congolese newspaper L’Avenir after the management said they had to cut jobs due to economic concerns and then subsequently advertised for new workers to replace them.

“The management of L’Avenir should have at least had the courage to be honest with the journalists when it dismissed them,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “Unless there is a legitimate reason for these sackings, they must be reinstated.”

On 2 August, journalists Jeriva Mukumadi, Tantia Sakata, Ferdinand Kato, Anselme Mia Pongo, Fifi Nyakio, Mukendi Octave, Franck Ambaguito and Cele Mboa were sacked because of a “tumultuous economic environment,” the management at L’Avenir told them. The daily newspaper is owned by Pius Mwabilu, a member of the parliament.

Approximately two weeks after this dismissal, the National Trade Union of the Professionals of Press (SNPP) of the Democratic Republic of Congo noted that the director of human resources at the newspaper published an advertisement to recruit journalists.

“The advert confirms that this dismissal was not related to any economic problem, but that it is indeed an arbitrary rupture of a long term employment contract,” said Stanis Nkundiye, General Secretary of the SNPP.

The IFJ renew its call on the government to put an end to the persistent abuse of workers in media companies in DRC. So far the government has failed to intervene in numerous cases where media owners, who are often working in or for the government, have abused their staff and ignored the national labour laws.

Three journalists and trade unionists of the state-owned Congolese National Radio and Television station were arrested and detained in July after they decided to organize a general assembly in order to discuss with colleagues their demand for a bonus that had been ignored for more than a year.

In May 2007, ten employees of Global FM in Kananga were dismissed after they had worked for months without receiving wages and no prospect of compensation. Five months before, 15 staff at Global TV Kinshasa were dismissed after they demanded payment for months of work for which they had received no compensation. Both companies are owned by a prominent Congolese politician, Mrs. Catherine Nzuzi wa Mbombo.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries