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Cablegate: High Media Authority Suspends Pro-Kabila Newspaper

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RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1555 2831810
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101810Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4920
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001555

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM KPAO CG
SUBJECT: HIGH MEDIA AUTHORITY SUSPENDS PRO-KABILA NEWSPAPER

REF: KINSHASA 1505

Sensitive but Unclassified. Not for Internet Distribution.

1. (U) Summary: The High Media Authority suspended the pro-Kabila
daily "L'Avenir" for impugning political adversaries. The HAM also
reduced sanctions against those accused of inflammatory rhetoric
during the official launching of the pro-Bemba political alliance.
End summary.

2. (U) The High Media Authority (HAM) suspended the daily newspaper
"L'Avenir" October 4 for a five-day period for accusing Jose Makila
Sumanda, Minister of Infrastructure and Public Works and official of
Jean-Pierre Bemba's Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC), of
embezzling 60 million Congolese francs (USD 120,000) earmarked for
salaries to fund Bemba's campaign. The HAM also reprimanded the
publisher of "L'Avenir" for defamation. The minister rejected the
allegations of embezzlement, noting that 80 million francs (USD
160,000), in fact, had gone missing from the ministry.

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3. (U) In another decision, the HAM reduced the media ban, from 30
to 15 days, it had placed on a few journalists and politicians who
had made abusive and inflammatory statements at the launching on
September 23 of Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba's Union for the
Nation (UN) political alliance (reftel).

4. (SBU) Commment: "L'Avenir" is very much the mouthpiece of
pro-Kabila hardliners, and the measure taken against it by the HAM
is further evidence of its independence and seriousness of purpose.
End comment.

DOUGHERTY

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