Media professionals in Kasai establish a committee for promotion of peace in DRC
February 16, 2023
Media professionals in Kasai have taken a major step towards promoting peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by establishing a committee to reduce violent conflict caused by biased reporting during elections. On 28 January, the Action pour la paix et la concorde (APC) and Interpeace held a two-day workshop in Tshikapa to discuss conflict sensitive reporting. This initiative is part of a larger project to strengthen inclusive governance and peace in the DRC, particularly in the province of Kasai, which has been underway since 2021 in collaboration with the provincial government. The committee seeks to raise awareness of the potential consequences of irresponsible journalism and encourage the media to take a more responsible approach to reporting during election periods.
At the opening of the workshop, the provincial Minister of Transport, Ditunga Beya, who was representing the Governor, urged journalists to engage in unbiased reporting.
According to the Provincial Minister of Transport, “the workshop offers a chance to request journalists and political actors with platforms on various local radio channels to help the Congolese people assess their political leaders in a peaceful and harmonious environment.”
Funded by the Swedish Agency for International Development (SIDA), the Kasai programme seeks to engage political, administrative, and customary authorities in Kamonia, Kamako, Kakenge, and Tshikapa in the process of peaceful conflict resolution. Simultaneously, the programme is taking the initial steps to establish foundations of peaceful governance in DRC by facilitating dialogue and mediation for reconciliation, as well as social cohesion among the local communities, the authorities, and the security forces.
The city of Tshikapa, the capital of Kasai Province, was established in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Constitution of 2006 and materialised in 2015 with the dismemberment of the provinces. With over 15 community radio stations owned by various national, provincial, and local political actors, these radio stations often find themselves embroiled in controversy due to their biased reporting in favour of their owners. Consequently, some actors have criticised the role these local radio stations play in intensifying violent and intercommunity conflicts. The establishment of the media professions committee will enable journalists broadcasting on local channels and hosting programs to raise awareness of peace among the population. The committee aims to engage political actors and policymakers without distinction based on gender or political affiliations.
The committee is chaired by Bethy Mukubayi of Voix de votre communauté (VVC) Radio, and is supported by Celestin Kadiandanda of Télé Entrinel Radio and Diaris Kindalo of Ondes du Progrès Radio in the secretariat. Diaris will be responsible for monitoring the committee’s media professionals on social media.
The workshop was a cause for celebration among the journalists in the city of Tshikapa, who perceived the establishment of the committee as timely. They expressed the desire that the committee’s mandate to be extended to all the territories of the Kasai province and, if possible, to the entire nation.