July 27, 2009 / 8:53 PM / 10 years ago

Congo suspends Radio France International frequency

KINSHASA (Reuters) - The Democratic Republic of Congo has suspended transmission of French broadcaster Radio France International (RFI), a government spokesman said on Monday.

Information Minister Lambert Mende said transmission of RFI had been stopped across the central African nation Sunday, but declined to give further details.

“Yes, the signal was cut off,” Mende told Reuters, adding a news conference would be held Tuesday to explain the decision.

The government shut down one of RFI’s six frequencies in May, accusing a reporter of inciting unrest, and had said it may extend the ban further.

RFI reported earlier this month that the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a former rebel group, had stopped participating in the implementation of a peace agreement in the troubled North Kivu province.

The government has denied the report and CNDP secretary general Kambasu Ngeve told Reuters his party was still involved in the implementation of a peace deal.

The government has long criticized RFI’s coverage of Congo and expelled its reporter from the country during the campaign leading up to presidential elections in 2006 — the nation’s first democratic polls in over four decades — which confirmed Joseph Kabila as president.

However, RFI continues to report on Congo from its headquarters in Paris.

Reporting by Thomas Hubert; Editing by Serena Chaudhry

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