Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sources for news on the Congo

(Apologies for formatting problems)

Here's my selective list. I have not included all sources, but the ones I feel are the most critical. It is heavily biased toward political reporting and neglects some excellent blogs on social and environmental issues. Feel free to recommend your own favorites. 

Notice that this list is for internet sources - some Congolese newspapers still do not have good websites, whereas some diaspora websites are extremely active but have poorer access to information from the ground. 

Also, I know that this is an English site, but it is impossible to get an accurate picture of developments in the Congo without reading the francophone press and bloggers. I encourage you to install the Google translate bar (or an equivalent) on your browser if you don't read French. 

Print Media

It is important to hail the courage of many Congolese journalists working - half a dozen have been killed or arrested in the past several years - but also to point out that few newspaper have a circulation of over 3,000 copies (each goes for between $1 and $3), and there are frequent allegations that papers are paid to publish articles favorable to businessmen or politicians. In addition, most newspapers have a known slant or are close to prominent politicians. 

Le Potentiel ( is reportedly the daily with the widest circulation (who keeps track?). Although historically linked to the UDPS opposition, its founding editor Modeste Mutinga is now affiliated to the government. Nonetheless, it has the largest staff and some of the most critical reporting, and its managing editor/director general Freddy Kabuayi remains a staunch critic of the government.

Le Phare ( is sympathetic towards the UDPS opposition. Founded and still run by Polydor Muboyayi, one of the newspaper's journalists was assassinated in 2006, allegedly for having written an article about diamond trafficking in Kasai province. 

L'Avenir ( was founded by Pius Mwabilu in 1997. The paper quickly became close to  Laurent Kabila, allegedly by way of Yerodia Ndombasi, who is now a senator. The paper is unabashedly favorable toward Joseph Kabila, as are the other parts of the Avenir empire: RTGA radio and TV stations. 

L'Observateur (, run by Makenda Voka, is one of the newspapers that tries not to be pinned to a political tendency or party.

L'Agence Congolaise de Presse ( is the national, state-run news agency that has become quite a bit more professional over the past several years.

For foreign press, you can sign up for a Google alert in both French and English. The foreign press with correspondents based in Congo are Bloomberg, Reuters, AFP, AP, BBC and Xinhua (some have local stringers). La Libre Belgique, Le Soir, RFI and VoA also have frequent articles on the Congo.

It is worth to figure out how to get access to several subscription-only services: Africa Confidential, the Economist Intelligence UnitAfrica Mining Intelligence and Africa Energy Intelligence have critical reports, especially on business and politics. 

Radio and TV

You can listen to several TV and radio stations online, including Top Congo FMCongo Planet and Congo Mikili. The quality and reliability, unfortunately, are not always ideal.

I would recommend going straight to Radio Okapi, a radio station and website run jointly by the UN peacekeeping mission and Lausanne-based Fondation Hirondelle. With dozens of journalists and relay stations around the country, and a budget of over $4 million, the station is the best source of news from around the country. Their website is a good first stop for Congolese news, and some of their shows - in particular Dialogue Entre Congolais - are good sources for analysis.

Websites and news aggregators

Several websites aggregate Congolese news. One of the best sources of daily summaries of Congolese news is on CongoForum, which has a "Revue de la Presse Congolaise" that comes out every weekday, and has an aggregation site in French, Dutch and English. Congo Planet has similar sites in English and French and also provides original news. Both and AllAfrica aggregate local and international news on the Congo, although neither translate the local media into English. aggregates local media on their website, which also provides original content. The Digitalcongo family, which has includes a TV and radio station, is known to be favorable toward Kabila.

I also recommend Congo Independent, which is edited by Baudouin Amba Wetshi in Brussels but provides good, if strongly critical, analysis on Congolese politics. Kaka Luigi is run by a Catholic priest in Bukavu and mostly re-posts other articles from the web.

In addition to these media that focus on the entire country, with a distinct bias toward Kinshasa (except for Okapi), there are also provincial media. Beni-Lubero Online provides local news from the northern part of North Kivu; Nyota Radio Television is broadcast from Lubumbashi but has a website with mostly national news; Congo Blog (last time I looked, managed by Cédric Kalonji) has a network of correspondents providing slice-of-life stories, full of color, from around the country, including cartoons and pictures; Mutaani is a Goma-based website in English, Swahili and French, with over ten journalists in Goma, Kinshasa, Bukavu, Kisangani and Lubumbashi, and with live streaming radio programs; Bukavu Online is managed by Olivier Katoto and posts articles regarding local and national politics; Uhaki News is a network of Congolese women journalists reporting on local and national issues, helped out by the Institute for War and Peace reporting; for those with a particular interest in South Kivu's high plateau, check out Journal Mulenge.

There are a number of websites with more of a regional nature, but crucial for understanding politics, especially in the eastern DRC. Grand Lacs Info is a website featuring original content as well as aggregating news on the whole region; Syfia Grands Lacs is a news agency with several original articles each week on the region; The New Times is Rwanda's government-run newspaper; The New Vision and The Daily Monitor are the top dailies in Uganda, with Andrew Mwenda's The Independent providing competition in the weekly news market; Iwacu is probably the best Bujumbura-based site for Burundian news, run by Antoine Kaburahe. (I'm obviously leaving out a lot of regional sites here).


There are three listservs that I can strongly recommend to get Congolese news and analysis provided straight to your inbox (I leave it up to you to find out how to get on them). The European Network for Central Africa (Eurac), through its director Kris Berwouts, sends out a host of much-needed information on the region if you can get on his email list; and Jean-Claude Willame of the Catholic University of Louvain has an excellent weekly summary of regional news in French that he sends out.

Not to leave out either is Denis Tougas, who works for a Canadian NGO, L'Entreaide Missionaire, and runs a listserv on Congolese mining.

In addition, Yahoo! has a number of listservs that you can search for ask to subscribe to (Hinterland, for example) that will put you in touch with hundreds of Congolese and Congo-watchers.

Blogs and other websites

Blogs on the Congo are proliferating, especially those in English. Some of the more important ones are:

Mvemba's Eye on Africa - This is run by Mvemba Dizolele, a Congolese journalist based in Washington DC and the author of a forthcoming biography on Mobutu.Friends of the Congo runs a blog based out of the US, blogging on all things Congo. Jina Moore is a bit less active on her blog these days, but still often provides good articles on the region through her blog on other outlets.

Laura Seay's Texas in Africa blog is one of the best known blogs on the region. Laura is a professor of political science at Morehouse College and wrote her PhD on the Congo. Congo Resources is a blog written by David Aronson, an longstanding Congo hand, who is particularly interested in natural resources. Alex Engwete has a fabulous blog that talks about Congolese politics with much gusto and wit, as well as many other things.

Colette Braeckman is probably the best-known Belgian journalist writing on the Congo and she has a blog based out of her Le Soir newspaper. While one may not always agree with her, her articles are often well-informed and always worth reading. Congo Masquerade is a new book by Theodore Tréfon, the director of contemporary history at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium; it is also the name of his new blog, well worth reading.

The Enough Project has a blog, including many postings on the Congo.

Other websites

Must read, in-depth reports on the Congo are written regularly by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Global Witness, Refugees International, Enough and the International Crisis Group.

I must give a particular shout-out to the reports by the UN Group of Experts (where I previously worked), which carries out investigations on armed groups in Congo under a UN mandate.

Pole Institute is a Goma-based think tank and research institute working on conflict, natural resources and governance. They often post interesting articles on their website. Gouvernance pour Tous is a site run by CENADEP, a Congolese NGO working on governance. They have a database of national laws, as well as news and analysis. ASADHO is one of the oldest Congolese human rights NGOs, based in Kinshasa and with a relatively new and well-managed website.

ACIDH is a Lubumbashi-based human rights organization that does investigations of human rights abuses, with a particular focus on mining. Héritiers de la Justice is a Bukavu-based human rights NGO with a newly refurbished website. Congolese civil society runs a website with reports of many different local NGOs, as well as their contact information.

IPIS is a Belgian NGO that works a lot on natural resources and conflict. It has a website with a mapping tool that allows you to see where mines and armed groups are located.

The UN humanitarian coordination agency OCHA has a website, featuring maps and weekly/monthly reports on the humanitarian situation in the country. It's extremely useful for a broad picture of the humanitarian situation.

CENI, the Congolese election commission, has a website that is not frequently updated, but still has important information such as the list of electoral candidates and various election laws.

The Ministry of Budget has a website, where it posts the country's budget; the Ministry of Mines also has a website, where it is supposed to post all of the country's mining contracts (it doesn't always live up to this). The presidency has a website, featuring the President Kabila's official press statements and speeches, but also important laws and decrees.

The UN peacekeeping mission has a website, which mostly just reports on its activities (see Radio Okapi for national news), but it also has important resources, including maps and its regular reports to the Secretary-General, which are very useful summaries of political developments in the country.

For economic statistics on the country, you can also see the IMF's statistical appendixes from its reports; the OECD and the World Bank are also valuable sources of information in this regard.

Finally, The King Effect is a blog written by Amy Ernst, who is a rape counselor based in the eastern Congo. She provides detailed and nuanced descriptions of her interactions with soldiers, rape survivors and other Congolese. 


Annelies Smets said...

Hi Jason,

I just wish to add that IPIS also edits weekly newsbriefings, which I think might be very useful too!

To subscribe or unsubscribe to the mailing, please click the following link:

Best Regards,

Annelies Smets ( IPIS)

Anand said...

@ Jason

Thanks so much for taking the time to publish such a comprehensive list of resources.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised there is no mention of Apareco. You may not like it but you have to admit, it is followed by loads of Congolese people.

Anonymous said...

Not a news source so to speak, but a portal of a Congolese led initiatives for memory:

Johanna Jansson said...

Thanks for this Jason

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