IRIN contributor expelled from Congo

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have expelled British freelance journalist Philip Kleinfeld.

Kleinfeld was detained on 7 May in the Rutshuru region of North-Kivu Province while reporting on inter-communal violence and its effects on the civilian population. He was working for IRIN, an independent news organisation that reports from the front lines of humanitarian crises.

Authorities also detained a journalist and a photojournalist working with news agency Agence France-Presse, as well as several members of a local Congolese non-governmental organisation. Kleinfeld and the photojournalist, both UK nationals, left Congo on 10 May.

Kleinfeld is an experienced journalist who has worked in Central Africa since 2016. His work focuses on the impact of conflict on civilian populations: he has documented systematic rape of women in South-Kivu Province and mass graves in the Kasai region.

A regular contributor to IRIN, Kleinfeld is accredited with the National Union of Journalists in the UK. He was in possession of a visa issued in the capital Kinshasa by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and valid until 3 August 2018. The Ministry of Communication and Media renewed his media accreditation, which covers the Rutshuru region, on 23 April. His trip to Rutshuru was authorised by the administrator of the territory.

“Philip is one of few journalists shining a light on under-reported conflicts and humanitarian emergencies in Congo,” said IRIN Director Heba Aly. “His work is vital and we appeal to the Congolese government to re-admit him into the country to continue his independent and objective reporting.”

(TOP PHOTO: Journalist Philip Kleinfeld in the Democratic Republic of Congo​.)

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