French reporter expelled from tense DR Congo

4th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

KINSHASA, July 4, 2006 (AFP) - A French radio reporter has been expelled from the Democratic Republic of Congo for not having the right papers, said an AFP reporter who was at the airport.

KINSHASA, July 4, 2006 (AFP) - A French radio reporter has been expelled from the Democratic Republic of Congo for not having the right papers, said an AFP reporter who was at the airport.

Ghislaine Dupont, special reporter for Radio France International (RFI) was put on a Belgian plane late Monday bound for Brussels.

She was escorted to the flight by special service agents and police officers without having received a written expulsion order.

The decision to expel her was given verbally in the afternoon in the special services headquarters in the presence of the French consul and an AFP reporter.

"You haven't been working here legally. You don't have accreditation," a senior officer, Major Van, told Dupont.

"With the compliments of the Congolese police," he added, handing her a plane ticket.

The RFI management released a statement in Paris saying that Dupont "had carried a journalist's visa and was accredited by the United Nations Mission in Congo."

Dupont had been in the country since April to prepare coverage of the July 30 elections, the country's first democratic presidential and parliamentary polls in 45 years and seen as as a key step in bringing lasting peace to the vast, war-scarred nation.

Multi-party talks to ensure a smooth run-up to the polls failed to resume Saturday, after being shunned by more than half the 33 presidential candidates when they opened on Friday.

The Congolese information ministry had complained about Dupont's impartiality and refused to grant her accreditation.

After a protest from RFI and several press defence groups, as well as Congolese political parties, the ministry granted accreditation to four other RFI journalists and agreed orally to accredit Dupont.

Asked on Monday why Dupont had been expelled while other foreign journalists also without accreditation were allowed to remain Major Van refused to answer.

The political climate is tense in the country ahead of the elections and press restraints have been growing.

On Wednesday two Rwandan journalists from the British news agency Reuters were refused entry into the country.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News


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