Newspapers in Republic of Congo
According to THESCIENCETUTOR.ORG, Republic of the Congo is a country located in Africa. Congo has four daily newspapers, of which Mweti is the largest with an edition of about 7,000 copies. The state-owned, national news agency Agence Congolaise Information (ACI), founded in 1961, also publishes a daily newspaper (1,000 copies). In 1992, a constitution was adopted that guaranteed freedom of the press, and the same year the state released control of the media, but since the unrest in the country intensified, the pressure on the media has been fierce again. Several newspapers periodically had to cease their publication. Since 1996, all independent press must be licensed by the government.
The state-owned company Radiodiffusion-Télévision Congolaise, founded in 1950, is responsible for national and regional radio in two channels and for television in one channel (since 1963). Television is mainly broadcast in French and mainly reaches Brazzaville. There is also an agreement with France on satellite broadcasting. Since 1997, there are two radio channels operated by supporters of Sassou-Nguesso. In the Congo there are 123 radio and 13 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).
According to ALLUNITCONVERTERS, in Congo-Brazzaville there is the traditional music of the bantu people with chorus, vocalists and several instruments as well as pygmy folk special vocal music. The country also has a prominent sculptural art and a French-speaking literary tradition.
The traditional music of the Bantu people is characterized by the interaction between singer and choir. Drums, xylophones, flutes, harps and lemons are played for the song. Pygmy folk music is mainly vocal with jodgling, footstool and clapping.
Christian mission brought European church music to Congo-Brazzaville. The room-like music of Congo Music, also known as soukous, which originated in the 1950s in Congo-Kinshasa is popular in the cities. It is played with congas, bongos, maracas and other rhythm instruments along with electric guitars, saxophones and trumpets. Ndombolo is a faster variant of soukous. It is also the name of a dance that has recently become popular in Congo-Brazzaville and the rest of the region, not least since authorities in several countries have tried to ban the dance from appearing in the media as it is considered erotic arousal.
The art of sculpture is outstanding. Above all, masks, bowls, musical instruments and tombstones are created.
In the 1960s a strong, French-speaking literary tradition emerged. Well-known authors include Hénri Lopes, Guy Menga and Emmanuel Dongala, who is also a chemist and now resides in the United States. Jean-Baptiste Tati-Loutard (1938–2009) was one of the most famous poets in the country and at times also a minister in the government. Among younger writers are Alain Mabanckou (1966–), who, after studying in his home country, moved to France and now lives in the United States. He has written a number of novels and is also published in Swedish.
According to the constitution, freedom of the press prevails and the censorship is abolished, but in reality the government is trying to control opinion formation.
Legally, the freedom of the press is limited by the fact that journalists can be sentenced to fines for three offenses: incitement to social unrest, attacks on authorities and slander of individuals. The government has also intervened against newspapers which are rejected by placing them in a publishing ban. But the most common restriction on press freedom is mainly about threats and harassment against journalists and newspapers.
In 2014, two journalists were expelled for subversive activities. They were also subjected to violent crimes. Freelance journalist Sadio Kante Morel was beaten by cops when she was to report from a trial while Cameroonian journalist Elie Smith was assaulted in his home after posting photos of opposition police beaten by police. During the assault, Smith’s sister was raped.
Despite the imperfect conditions prevailing, the situation in the Congo-Brazzaville is judged to be better than in the rest of the region. In the index of freedom of the press in the world countries that the Reporters Without Borders Organization establishes each year just above the middle, well ahead of neighboring countries such as Central African Republic and Congo-Kinshasa (Finland ranks first, Sweden in tenth while Eritrea takes the top spot).
Most Congolese people receive news from radio or TV. The state television and radio company Radiodiffusion-Télévision Congolaise has one TV channel and three radio channels that are loyal to the government. There are three radio channels and four privately owned TV channels, but none are government-critical. FM stations broadcast international programs from French Radio France Internationale, RFI. Congolese can also watch satellite broadcasts from France, but few can afford the necessary dishes.
The print media rarely publishes more than 2,000 copies and reaches less than a third of the population. Those who read newspapers are mainly in the capital Brazzaville and the city of Pointe Noire. There is a state newspaper, La Nouvelle République, and several other publications that are close to the government. About 20 privately owned, government-critical weekly newspapers are published, including La Semaine Africaine, but several have been banned indefinitely.
Only a small part of the population has access to the internet, see fact box.
FACTS – MASS MEDIA
Percentage of the population using the internet
9 percent (2017)
Number of mobile subscriptions per 100 residents
Sassou-Nguesso promises new forest
Congo-Brazzaville hosts an international meeting on rainforests and President Sassou-Nguesso promises that his country will plant 20 million hectares of new forest by 2020.
Agricultural agreement with South African farmers
Congo-Brazzaville signs an agreement with a consortium of South African farmers to lease 200,000 hectares of agricultural land for 30 years.