Héritier Maila | Institute for War and Peace Reporting
I was born on August 28, 1979 in Lubumbashi, Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC. That’s where I grew up, too.
I became a journalist because I find it easy to write. Already at the age of 12, I wrote poems and little plays, which were performed among friends. But I got a taste for journalism through my studies. While studying journalism at the University of Lubumbashi, I soon started working with newspapers before moving into audiovisual media a few months before the end of my course.
I have never done any other work apart from journalism, and it is this that provides for my family - my wife and my three children.
What made me want to become a journalist was to inform other Congolese by telling the truth, since our public press is incapable of criticising the government. Also, through my job, I contribute a little to the advent of democracy in my country, because I present a political programme on the radio in which I give the floor both to those currently in power and their opponents.
I have learnt a lot from the comments I received through working with IWPR. For instance, I changed my writing style after I realised that my own personal opinions do not have a place in reporting.
The article I am most proud of is my first piece on the conditions of detention in Kasapa prison, Journalist Recalls Disturbing Prison Ordeal.
I am proud because since my story was published, the authorities provide more food for the prisoners. I believe that my article had something to do with this, as people have begun to understand that the prisoners have rights, which must be respected.
For me, being a journalist means being a mediator between the rulers and the ruled. It means being the eyes and ears of both the authorities and the people. It means accurately conveying the cries of the people to their leaders, and faithfully transmitting the declarations or decisions of the leaders to the population.