DRC media operating outside traditional structures

Audio 08:53
Newspapers on the streets of Kinshasa
Newspapers on the streets of Kinshasa CheikFitaNews

A handful of highly successful media outlets reporting on the Democratic Republic of Congo operate outside traditional structures. They are closely followed by both the diaspora and the people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.




RFI’s Zeenat Hansrod spoke to two of them based in Brussels: Fabien Kusuanika for Tele Tshangu and Cheik Fita for Cheik Fita News.

Tshangu TV’s flagship programme, «Actualité expliquée», which airs on average four times per week, attracts around twenty-five thousand viewers and sometimes reaches a peak of 50 thousand. Approximately two to five thousand viewers visit Cheik Fita News’ website on a daily basis.

Both are a one-man affair, Fita and Kusuanika doing almost everything themselves while handling a day job. They do work with a small team of journalists in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Cheik Fita says that he has to hide the identity of the journalists who work for him for fear of harsh reprisals from the authorities. Fita left the DRC for Belgium in 2003 because his political views did not agree with President Joseph Kabila. Cheik Fita News was set up first as a blog in 2006 and became a news website later in 2009.

Fabien Kusuanika hosts “Actualitée expliquée” in what he calls “Frangala”, a mix of Lingala – one of the languages widely spoken in DRC – and French. A language Congolese can understand better than French which, he says, belongs to the elite.

Fita and Kusuanika are firmly convinced that working from Belgium means enjoying a freedom of expression which might not have been possible in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Cheik Fita thinks that his success is largely due to verified and reliable information. For Fabien Kusuanika, it is because he broadcasts regularly and uses a language his viewers can actually understand.

Follow Cheik Fita on Twitter: @cheikfitanews
Follow Fabien Kusuanika on Twitter: @teletshangu
Follow Zeenat Hansrod on Twitter: @zxnt


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