Attacks on the Press in 1997 - Congo
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||February 1998|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1997 - Congo, February 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c5652fc.html [accessed 13 March 2014]|
The continued fighting between government troops loyal to President Pascal Lissouba and the private militia of the country's former dictator, Gen. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, resulted in the indefinite postponement of the presidential election originally scheduled for July. In October, Gen. Sassou-Nguesso seized Brazzaville, overthrowing President Lissouba, who fled the country. At the close of the year, Sassou-Nguesso announced he was working on a timetable for elections and a return to democracy.
The government monopoly over the broadcast media is not expected to change with the new regime. Although the 1991 constitution provided for freedom of expression and called for the establishment of an independent council to oversee the media and safeguard press freedoms, it has not yet been established.
Rural Radio, a community station in operation since 1976 and once acclaimed by Congolese villagers as their authentic voice, was the latest casualty in the struggle for power between Lissouba and Sassou-Nguesso. Crippled by lack of funds, trained staff, and recording material, the station was reduced to re-broadcasting old shows instead of producing new ones.