Student Researcher: Devin Taft
Faculty Instructor: Christina M. Knopf, Ph.D.
Evaluator: Aisling Taft, journalist
Since November 2004, “the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has entered a sad cycle of killings of media professionals.” Five journalists have been killed in similar circumstances and “it seems these are more likely targeted assassinations that random acts of violence.” Armed clashes between the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, led by Jean-Pierre Bemba, and the recently elected president Joseph Kabila have been ongoing. One of the journalists was killed on the same day that Bemba’s television station had its antennae sabotaged. Ironically, one of the victims was also an antennae maintenance technician. None of the victims’ personal belongings were stone, aside from one cell phone. This was pointed out by the media defense organization Journaliste en Danger (JED), which dismissed the hypothesis that the killings were random crimes. All five media professionals were killed near or in the presence of armed men, close to police stations that failed to respond, despite gunshots. Alleged attackers were captured, but due to “botched” investigations they could only have mock trials, which in turn lead to being exempt from punishment. This impunity for the real murderers feeds the cycle of violence against journalists.
“Journalists murdered near police stations” Chaco, Emmanuel, Inter Press Service News Agency. (2008 December). http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45060