DR Congo Curbs French Radio Station In Tension Vote

 

DR Congo on Wednesday said it had pulled accreditation for a French radio journalist and cut off the station’s broadcasts amid tensions over the counting of votes in crucial elections.

The authorities said accreditation for the Radio France Internationale (RFI) correspondent in Kinshasa, Florence Morice, had been withdrawn.

Government spokesman Lambert Mende accused Morice of violating electoral law and “the code of good conduct for foreign journalists covering the elections”.

Accusing the station of stirring controversy, he said, “RFI’s broadcasts have been cut off in all of Congo’s cities.”

“We are not going to let a radio station throw petrol on the flames at a time when we are waiting for the compilation of the provisional results,” Mende said.

RFI, a French public-service broadcaster, has a very large audience in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a French-speaking country of around 80 million people.

It has been closely covering Sunday’s presidential elections and the marathon vote tally.

RFI issued a statement saying its coverage had been impartial and expressing full support for Morice.

She had been “merely working as a professional journalist,” it said, and urged the authorities to reverse their decision to withdraw her accreditation.

On Tuesday, RFI said that its broadcasts had been blocked since Monday evening.

 Suspicions 

The elections will determine who succeeds President Joseph Kabila, at the helm of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest country for nearly 18 years.

Kabila refused to step down after his two-term constitutional limit ended in 2016, sparking protests that were quelled at the cost of scores of lives.

Among the DRC’s opposition, suspicions run deep that the vote will be rigged to let his preferred successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, be declared a winner.

Mende said RFI had been “declaring results (and) trends” as the vote count unfolded.

“Only the head of CENI can proclaim” these, he said, referring to the Independent National Electoral Commission, in charge of overseeing the elections and the count.

On Monday, the authorities cut off access to the internet, a move that opposition activists said sought to gag communications and stifle transparency.

An adviser to Kabila, Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi, said the move targetted the dissemination of “fake figures” to avert a “popular uprising.”

The European Union, United States, Canada and Switzerland urged the government to restore access.

The DRC has a long history of turmoil, and many fear a bloodbath if the elections go badly wrong.

The mineral-rich country has never had a peaceful handover of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

Millions of people died from fighting, starvation and disease in two full-fledged wars between 1996 and 2003, and bloodshed marred elections in 2006 and 2011.

Preliminary results are due by Sunday, and definitive results by January 15, with the next head of state due to be sworn in January 18. Legislative and municipal elections took place alongside the presidential ballot.

According to a survey by Afriscope/TNS Sofres quoted by RFI, the French radio station has 40 percent of listeners in the DRC.

AFP

OPINION: Impact Of Social Media On Nigerian Journalism

Journalism is the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines or of broadcasting news on radio or television while Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange and comment on contents among themselves in virtual communities and networks.

The impact of social media in the communication system cannot be overemphasized as traditional media has undoubtedly taken an onward progressive turn in achieving its core assignments of educating, informing and entertaining its audience; the Nigerian populace.

The consistent and goal-driven use of social media has filled the interactive and investigative vacuum found in the traditional media in Nigeria and the entire world. Hitherto this new age of journalism, reporters were only able to practice the time-sensitive profession within a certain constrained environment which permitted the Nigerian journalist to find facts from physically available sources.

Today, the Nigerian journalist can boast of new skills in news gathering and better accuracy in reporting the opinion of the people. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google + have been used to monitor trends and gather intelligence in regards to the opinion of the masses.

Take for instance events which have garnered much attention as a result of activities on social media. Thousands of Nigerians joined Twitter during and after the subsidy protest (OccupyNigeria) of 2012,  the death of four UNIPORT students (ALUU4) caused a nationwide outcry against ‘jungle justice,’ the video of a policeman caught extorting a motorist went viral online and has now found its way into TV and radio.

These events were either instigated or projected online as a result of the use of social media platforms by those who witnessed and shared the details.

The ability of the social media to breed interactivity has caused the audience to exit its passive shell and enter into a new sphere of activity. This has helped in a number of other sectors in the economy; most especially politics and education. Worthy of note is the fact that social media has helped traditional media to gain its lost audience (youths).

With the rise in social media usage, Nigerian youths, who scarcely subscribed to the print media, have now cultivated a healthy habit of keeping abreast of events in the country.

Social media has impacted Nigerian journalism in the area of reporting as new features i-reports which allows individuals report events in real time in any case where an official correspondent is not on ground.

The integration of social media in news gathering and delivery has also enabled the Nigerian journalist to work in a capacity that totally erases the restrictions of distance. Today, interviews are conducted via email correspondence, Twitter conversations, Skype video chats etc.

Breaking News! This feature has been redefined since the advent of social media in Nigerian journalism. Journalists can now break news as they happen with supporting files such as pictures taken and posted alongside headlines.

Live broadcasts have been made possible online via web streaming. In most cases, the audience is able to participate and give feedback via the comments section which allows the reporter access to instant feedback.

The World Wide Web evolves daily; so does the social media. This means traditional media will yet experience even more changes and growth in times to come.

Written by Mayowa Ogundele, an online journalist with Channels Television, creative writer and aspiring broadcaster. Follow her via Twitter @Ohluwamayowa and Google+, Mayowa Ogundele.

FG Insists on National Good Governance Tour In Edo State

Despite a recent criticism of the National Good Governance Tour (NGGT) by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state and his stance on not welcoming the tour, the NGGT has insisted on proceeding with its visit to projects sites in the event that any state opts out.

The coordinator of NGGT, Mr Samuel Ajayi, made this known in a statement on Saturday, saying that the “Tour Team will go ahead and inspect Federal projects in such states.”

“But where any state chooses not to participate, it can opt out of the NGGT without blackmailing the Tour Team” Mr Ajayi declared.

“It has become imperative to set the records straight, following comments credited to the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, wherein he declared that he would not use state resources to fund the National Good Governance Tour (NGGT) visit to his state” the statement read.

Explaining the origin and duty of NGGT, the statement noted that the tour is a programme designed by the Federal Ministry of Information in collaboration with the National Planning Commission and the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Performance Monitoring and endorsed by the 36 State Governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and the National Economic Council, to publicize the development programmes and projects of all tiers of government in the country.

“It is a non-partisan tour involving the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists; (NUJ) the Radio, Television and Theatre Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU); leaders of women and youth organisations; National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS); National Council of Women Societies (NCWS); leaders of non-governmental organisations; operatives of security agencies; representative(s) of the Nigeria Governors Forum Secretariat; and reporters from the nation’s print and electronic media.”

So far, the NGGT team has visited 14 states in the North-Central, South-East and the South-South geo-political zones of the country.