Héritier Maila | Institute for War and Peace Reporting


Héritier Maila

Héritier Maila

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.

Stories by the author

Demand for property has led to numerous legal disputes in Lubumbashi, and allegations that judges are taking bribes to reassign property. (Photo: Luc56/Flickr)
Héritier Maila, Godlieve Uwimana
19 Jul 11
Judiciary accused of taking bribes to order property transfers.
Héritier Maila
26 Jan 11
Hundreds of cases investigated by officers, but so far few prosecutions.
Héritier Maila
10 Dec 10
Outreach work in DRC attempts to explain justice process in The Hague.
Héritier Maila
6 Dec 10
Bukama residents furious with magistrates investigating unlawful unions.
Bemba retains strong support in the Kinshasa area. (Photo: Irene2005/Flickr)
Anjana Sundaram, Blake Evans-Pritchard, Héritier Maila, François Kadima
19 Nov 10
Despite his detention at the ICC, indictee’s hold over western DRC remains strong.
According to UNICEF, just 32 per cent of secondary school-age children attend class. (Photo: Julien Harneis/Flickr)
Héritier Maila
1 Nov 10
The high costs of education creates problems, with poorer pupils forced to drop out.
Héritier Maila
6 Aug 10
A women's shelter for victims of sexual abuse in eastern DRC. (Photo: UN Photo/Marie Frechon)
Héritier Maila
27 Jul 10
Superstitious beliefs said to be behind disturbing cases of sexual violence against young children.
Héritier Maila
23 Jul 10
They say local courts cannot be relied upon to bring war crimes prosecutions.
Héritier Maila
30 Jun 10
Despite local authorities' best efforts to keep children off the streets, many yearn to return.