Journalists associations

The main journalist associations active in the DRC have the form of non-profit organisations. The main entity is the Union nationale de la presse du Congo (National Union of Media Professionals - UNPC), which was set up in March 2004 at the end of a major congress of media professionals that had the ambition to rebuild the journalistic profession in the DRC. It brings together all the media professionals who adhere to it and to whom it issues a professional card. It functions as a self-regulatory organ of the journalistic profession throughout the entire DRC. In this capacity, as a sort of “police officer” of professional ethics of the field, it permanently monitors compliance with the provisions of the Code of Ethics and Deontology of the Congolese journalist and imposes sanctions in all circumstances of violation. It also monitors attacks on the freedom of the press and issues warnings and other denunciations, protests, with the aim of their ceasing. Totally independent of the political regime in place and functioning as a trade union of media professionals, it replaced the Zaire Press Union (UPZA), which at the time was affiliated to the Popular Movement of the Revolution (MPR), the sole party of dictator Mobutu. The UNPC has serious operational difficulties due to its technical weaknesses, budget and sometimes to its highly contested political positions. Its credibility and legitimacy are unfortunately at the center of several discussions within the sector, to the point that its jurisdiction is ultimately limited only to professionals who have adhered to its statutes.

Journaliste en danger (Journalist in Danger - JED) was created in 1999 by a group of media professionals and is a member organisation of the Congolese civil society specialised in the surveillance of freedom of the press. Since 2004, it has been mandated to be the warning network of the Central African Media Organisation (OMAC) whenever freedom of the press is infringed. In monitoring freedom of the press, JED operates in each of the DRC provinces and in other countries where it operates with correspondents, who are primarily responsible for alerting the Kinshasa office of any cases of violations of human rights and freedom of the press in their respective environments. More than any other association in the field, JED ensures a permanent and quality work in the reinforcement of the democratic governance through the defense and the promotion of the freedom of the press, a particularly important component of freedom of expression.