Democratic Republic of Congo
Index 2024
123/ 180
Score : 48.91
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
124/ 180
Score : 48.55
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

Media pluralism is a reality in the country but, in the province of Nord-Kivu, the media have been badly affected by the conflict between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the M23 rebels. 

Media landscape

The largest country in sub-Saharan Africa by area, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has more than 7,000 professional journalists, more than 500 newspapers (of which only about 15 are published regularly), more than 150 TV channels, more than 4,000 radio stations and more than 40 online media. The state radio and TV broadcaster, Radio Télévision Nationale Congolaise (RTNC), the UN’s Radio Okapi and Top Congo radio have national coverage. The print media are almost non-existent outside the capital, Kinshasa. News websites such as Actualité.cd and are in full development. 

Political context

The Congolese media landscape is marked by the strong presence of politicians who own or launch media outlets intended to promote their influence and rise to power. The national radio and TV broadcaster is a state media outlet that lacks independence. It is very common for local authorities, militias, religious groups, and politicians to exert pressure on journalists and media outlets present in their province. The M23 has ordered some media outlets to modify their editorial policies. 

Legal framework

The 1996 press law was revised in April 2023 based on the recommendations of a national media convention, which called for a more modern and more protective legal framework for journalists and the media. The new law tightens the conditions for access to the profession of journalist. It does not explicitly abolish prison sentences for press offences, but it adds a  clause of bad faith in the publication of false information or allegations that have disturbed public order. In addition, it guarantees journalists access to information of public interest that is not classified and does not involve state security or national defence.

Economic context

Congolese journalists and media outlets lead a very precarious existence. Employment contracts are rare and the practice of “coupage” – whereby journalists receive payment in exchange for covering an event or reporting some information – is widespread. The funding that the state has to legally provide to media outlets has never been distributed in a transparent manner. Very few media outlets are viable and independent, and most are influenced by those who back them.

Sociocultural context

Journalists are sometimes targeted on the basis of their ethnic or community affiliation, and they are exposed to reprisals in connection with their work, particularly in the east of the country, where many armed groups are present. The conflict in Nord-Kivu is off-limits for the media, which are caught between the violence of the M23 rebels and the army’s response. Some radio stations and broadcasts were suspended in 2021 for “incitement to tribalism and violence”. Self-censorship is  a common practice for many journalists. Covering subjects such as major corruption cases and certain mining contracts are especially difficult. 


Journalists are exposed to many dangers in the DRC, including arrests, attacks, threats, forced disappearances, executions, as well as the suspension, looting and ransacking of media offices. Security forces are involved in many abuses and enjoy complete impunity. In Nord-Kivu, journalists have been threatened by a wave of harassment and reprisals since the beginning of 2023 despite a ceasefire. M23 rebels have ordered some media outlets to change their editorial policies. Discouraging the armed forces via the media in wartime is punishable by death. During elections, journalists have been threatened and attacked by politicians and their supporters.