Editor arrested and his newspaper closed as authorities seek to control dissent

Expression

On 11th January, police arrested journalist Ghys Foruné Dombe Bemba because of an article concerning senior leaders in the military. The editor of Talassa newspaper, Dombe Bemba was subsequently charged with "complicity in interfering with internal security", allegedly because of the paper's publication of comments by former rebel leader Pastor Ntumi (also known as Frédéric Bintsamou), who is wanted by the authorities in connection with an attack in Brazzaville on 4th April 2016

In a development that authorities claim is not connected to Dombe Bemba's arrest, Talassa was "permanently banned" by the Republic of Congo's media regulator. The ban is allegedly in response to the publication of an article which abused the head of state Denis Sassou Nguesso.

The domestic media sector in the Republic of Congo is dominated and controlled by the state, and many journalists working for private outlets practise self-censorship. All media organisations must register with the Conseil Supérieur de la Liberté de la Communication, which exercises constant censorship over the media. The authorities in Congo periodically suspend newspapers and radio stations for carrying content which is critical of the government.