Studio Hirondelle is back in action in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of the EU-funded project "Citizen media committed to strengthening democratic culture in the DRC". Magazines, debates and videos are produced by the studio team in Kinshasa and a network of correspondents to cover the elections and help consolidate democracy.
"For us, the challenge is to prepare for the pre-election, election and post-election periods," says Christian Mulumba Kalumba, editor-in-chief of Studio Hirondelle RDC, as he talks about his media's programme. Since September 2023, the studio's team, based in Kinshasa, and its network of correspondents across the country, have been busy preparing for the presidential, legislative and provincial elections to be held in the Democratic Republic of Congo on 20 December. Funded by the European Union, the two-year project is called "Citizen media committed to strengthening democratic culture in the DRC".
This coverage involves the production of radio magazines and debates in the studio and in public, in French and the national languages (Lingala, Kikongo, Tshiluba and Swahili). These productions are broadcast by a network of 60 radio partners and are accessible in large parts of the country. They also deal with issues specific to certain remote regions of the country, which rarely receive sufficient media attention. The project also includes a number of videos specifically designed for broadcast on social networks.
To build the capacity of media partners, training courses for journalists and trainers are being held to support them in producing quality electoral information. This will put them in a better position to combat misinformation and the rise of hate speech, as well as improving media literacy among Congolese citizens.
By providing information on the electoral process, this project aims to contribute to transparent elections, as well as supporting the population and civil society. "We want to give a voice to everyone, as a way of gaining the public's trust," explains Christian Mulumba Kalumba. This inclusive stance also aims to strengthen the accountability of certain political players to the population, in a context that is longer than the current electoral period.
The project was officially launched at a ceremony in Kinshasa on 19 October attended by the European Union Delegation, which is funding the project, the Minister for Communication and Media, Patrick Muyaya, our implementing partner, Osservatorio di Pavia, and Nicolas Boissez, Director of Operations at Fondation Hirondelle.
Another part of this project, implemented by our partner Osservatorio di Pavia, aims to support the Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel et de la Communication (CSAC) in monitoring the audiovisual media during the electoral process. Such an analysis makes it possible to define benchmarks for judging the transparency of the electoral process, highlight cases of interference and thus enable the media regulatory body to put in place warning mechanisms in the event of non-compliance with the rules of ethics and deontology. Online media and social networks may also be periodically monitored as part of these activities.