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Attacks on the Press in 1996 - Angola

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 1997
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1996 - Angola, February 1997, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c564f4c.html [accessed 26 November 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The October murder of Antonio Casemero, a journalist with the state-run Angolan Popular Television, by four unidentified gunmen was a chilling reminder of the crisis facing Angola's press. Journalists are skeptical that the government is actively investigating Casemero's murder because it took place in Cabinda, a province where there is no international community to pressure the powerful local governors who consider themselves above criticism or the law.

Confronted routinely with death threats, attacks, and warnings from anonymous sources, state security agents and government officials, both independent and state journalists in Angola are working in one of the most dangerous environments in the region and practice self-censorship as a defense against harassment. Last year's unsolved murder of Ricardo de Melo, director of Imparcial Fax, remains fresh in journalists' minds as a politically motivated act with the goal of silencing the media.

Limited national distribution outlets restrict the print media primarily to the capital, Luanda. In previous years, the government controlled the only fully functional printing press in the country, granting priority to state publications and imposing strict editorial guidelines on independent newspapers. The recent launch of Agora, a privately owned printing company, is an indication that the state has loosened its grip on the printing industry, but it remains to be seen if Agora will be targeted for harassment if it produces newspapers that publish critical or opposing views. Weekly newsletters, such as A4 and Actual Fax, sell extremely well and offer readers access to news that is rarely covered in the state media. Jornal de Angola, the government daily newspaper, continues to enjoy state subsidies.

Television broadcasting remains under state monopoly. Radio is the most effective medium in Angola in the aftermath of the decades-long civil war, which took its toll on both the technical infrastructure and the population's literacy. The government has now given official sanction to private ownership of radio stations. Affiliations exist between local independent radio stations and international radio networks such as the Voice of America, and two new private radio broadcasters are expected to become fully functional in early 1997, bringing the total of independent broadcasters to six.

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