"We condemn the warrantless and obscene insults and threats that Congolese Member of Parliament Yves Kisombe directed at Eugénie Ntumba over a botched interview," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. "We call on Congolese authorities to take action against Kisombe in order to strengthen the rule of law in the country."
"When I started to speak, [Kisombe] told me he could not hear me well," Ntumba told CPJ, but she said she had clearly identified herself and the purpose of her call. She claimed the politician began shouting at her despite her apologies and then the call got dropped. She never called back, but Kisombe subsequently called the station to threaten her. She claimed she later received two anonymous phone calls on August 16 in which the callers threatened to kill her for having recorded Kisombe's comments. She also reported that an anonymous person called her father to pressure him to "convince" her to go on television and say the recording was a montage and that she worked for the opposition.
Ntumba said she has filed a complaint against Kisombe for death threats and insults. In an interview with U.N.-sponsored broadcaster Radio Okapi on Wednesday, Kisombe described the audio recording as a "grotesque montage."
Speaking to CPJ today, Congolese Communication Minister Lambert Mende said the government had "taken note" of the accusations of the journalists and the denials of Kisombe. "It is difficult to accept that there are such insults this way without consequences," he said, adding that the case should be referred to the newly established state-run media regulatory agency, the High Council for Audiovisual Media and Communication. On Tuesday, three Congolese press groups--Journaliste en Danger, the Congolese National Press Union, and the Observatory of Congolese Media--called for a media blackout on Kisombe's activities for six months, news reports said. The groups have also planned a march on Friday to protest a series of recent attacks on journalists in the line of duty by members of the ruling party and security forces.