Newspapers in Republic of Congo
Congo has four daily newspapers, of which Mweti is the largest with an
edition of about 7,000 copies. The state-owned, national news agency Agence
Congolaise Information (ACI), founded in 1961, also publishes a daily
newspaper (1,000 copies). In 1992, a constitution was adopted that guaranteed
freedom of the press, and the same year the state released control of the media,
but since the unrest in the country intensified, the pressure on the media has
been fierce again. Several newspapers periodically had to cease their
publication. Since 1996, all independent press must be licensed by the
The state-owned company Radiodiffusion-Télévision Congolaise,
founded in 1950, is responsible for national and regional radio in two channels
and for television in one channel (since 1963). Television is mainly broadcast
in French and mainly reaches Brazzaville. There is also an agreement with France
on satellite broadcasting. Since 1997, there are two radio channels operated by
supporters of Sassou-Nguesso. In the Congo there are 123 radio and 13 TV
receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).
In Congo-Brazzaville there is the traditional
music of the bantu people with chorus, vocalists and
several instruments as well as pygmy folk special vocal
music. The country also has a prominent sculptural art
and a French-speaking literary tradition.
The traditional music of the Bantu people is
characterized by the interaction between singer and
choir. Drums, xylophones, flutes, harps and lemons are
played for the song. Pygmy folk music is mainly vocal
with jodgling, footstool and clapping.
Latest population statistics of Republic of the Congo, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Christian mission brought European church music to
Congo-Brazzaville. The room-like music of Congo Music,
also known as soukous, which originated in the 1950s in
Congo-Kinshasa is popular in the cities. It is played
with congas, bongos, maracas and other rhythm
instruments along with electric guitars, saxophones and
trumpets. Ndombolo is a faster variant of soukous. It is
also the name of a dance that has recently become
popular in Congo-Brazzaville and the rest of the region,
not least since authorities in several countries have
tried to ban the dance from appearing in the media as it
is considered erotic arousal.
The art of sculpture is outstanding. Above all,
masks, bowls, musical instruments and tombstones are
In the 1960s a strong, French-speaking literary
tradition emerged. Well-known authors include Hénri
Lopes, Guy Menga and Emmanuel Dongala, who is also a
chemist and now resides in the United States. Jean-Baptiste
Tati-Loutard (1938–2009) was one of the most famous
poets in the country and at times also a minister in the
government. Among younger writers are Alain Mabanckou
(1966–), who, after studying in his home country, moved
to France and now lives in the United States. He has
written a number of novels and is also published in
Swedish. For Republic of the Congo public policy, please
According to the constitution, freedom of the
press prevails and the censorship is abolished, but in
reality the government is trying to control opinion
Legally, the freedom of the press is limited by the
fact that journalists can be sentenced to fines for
three offenses: incitement to social unrest, attacks on
authorities and slander of individuals. The government
has also intervened against newspapers which are
rejected by placing them in a publishing ban. But the
most common restriction on press freedom is mainly about
threats and harassment against journalists and
In 2014, two journalists were expelled for subversive
activities. They were also subjected to violent crimes.
Freelance journalist Sadio Kante Morel was beaten by
cops when she was to report from a trial while
Cameroonian journalist Elie Smith was assaulted in his
home after posting photos of opposition police beaten by
police. During the assault, Smith's sister was raped.
Despite the imperfect conditions prevailing, the
situation in the Congo-Brazzaville is judged to be
better than in the rest of the region. In the index of
freedom of the press in the world countries that the
Reporters Without Borders Organization establishes each
year just above the middle, well ahead of neighboring
countries such as Central African Republic and
Congo-Kinshasa (Finland ranks first, Sweden in tenth
while Eritrea takes the top spot).
Most Congolese people receive news from radio or TV.
The state television and radio company
Radiodiffusion-Télévision Congolaise has one TV channel
and three radio channels that are loyal to the
government. There are three radio channels and four
privately owned TV channels, but none are
government-critical. FM stations broadcast international
programs from French Radio France Internationale, RFI.
Congolese can also watch satellite broadcasts from
France, but few can afford the necessary dishes.
The print media rarely publishes more than 2,000
copies and reaches less than a third of the population.
Those who read newspapers are mainly in the capital
Brazzaville and the city of Pointe Noire. There is a
state newspaper, La Nouvelle République,
and several other publications that are close to the
government. About 20 privately owned,
government-critical weekly newspapers are published,
including La Semaine Africaine, but
several have been banned indefinitely.
Only a small part of the population has access to the
internet, see fact box.
FACTS - MASS MEDIA
Percentage of the population using the
9 percent (2017)
Number of mobile subscriptions per 100
Sassou-Nguesso promises new forest
Congo-Brazzaville hosts an international meeting on
rainforests and President Sassou-Nguesso promises that
his country will plant 20 million hectares of new forest
Agricultural agreement with South African farmers
Congo-Brazzaville signs an agreement with a
consortium of South African farmers to lease 200,000
hectares of agricultural land for 30 years.