Journalists habitually demand and accept cash and material favours from news sources, according to the African Media Barometer specially dedicated to the country. “Brown envelopes” are allegedly widespread and considered part of the common practice in the journalism sector. Event organisers and news sources have to pay “transport fares” ranging from CFAF 5000 (EURO 7,60) upward. The minimum could be several times higher in the evenings, weekends and if the journalist has to go to a rural area.
The report notes also that it is common for television and radio stations to demand fees for news to be aired. In the print sector, only a few newspapers label paid content as adverts. An interviewee notes that sometimes advertisers do not want the public to know that a report was commissioned and the newspaper is forced to carry it as news.
Separate studies conducted by the country’s anti-corruption body in 2002 and 2010 concluded that the media is one of the most corrupt sectors of the country. A report of the Congolese Media Observatory in 2009 urged journalists to refrain from accepting or demanding money from news sources. Most media houses refused to publish the recommendations and one newspaper accused the media observatory of trying to “kill” the industry.