Reporters Without Borders Annual Report 2002 - Mozambique
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||3 May 2002|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Reporters Without Borders Annual Report 2002 - Mozambique, 3 May 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/487c522b28.html [accessed 31 May 2016]|
Progress has been made in the inquiry into the murder of journalist Carlos Cardoso. Six persons are to stand trial in this case, including well-known Mozambican businessmen. During the year two journalists were assaulted
Mozambican prime minister Pascoal Mocumbi said on 3 May 2001 that his country remained attached to "the consolidation of press freedom". He reiterated his solidarity with "all those who, by word and deed, are engaged in the defence of press freedom in Mozambique and throughout the world".
On the same day local journalists called for better access to official information. "Civil servants refuse to provide certain information that is of interest to the public. They hide behind the need to protect state secrets, even when the information requested is not a state secret", explained an official from a local press freedom organisation.
New information on a journalist killed before 2001
On 28 February 2001 the minister of the interior announced the arrest of "suspects" in connection with the murder of Carlos Cardoso, managing editor of the daily Metical. On 13 March police arrested the brothers Momade Abdul Satar and Ayob Abdul Satar, two influential businessmen, and Vicente Ramaya, former manager of the Maputo office of the Commercial Bank of Mozambique (BCM).
The daily Metical announced on 22 May that six persons were formally charged by the Mozambican courts. Momade Abdul Satar was charged with murder, along with Anibal Arturo dos Santos, Manuel Fernandes and Carlos Rachid Cassamo whom he hired. Ayob Abdul Satar and Vicente Ramaya were accused of being the "authors" who had ordered the murder. The judge handling the case said on 10 September that he had enough evidence for a trial to be held. The six suspects will remain in detention until the trial, for which a date has not yet been set.
Before his death Carlos Cardoso was investigating the disappearance of 144 billion meticais (a little over 7 million euros) at the BCM. Metical followed this affair closely, calling for an end to impunity and for an official inquiry. In particular, Carlos Cardoso had cited the names of the Satar brothers and of Vicente Ramaya in his articles. Metical had also accused the then state prosecutor, Diamantino dos Santos, of having deliberately concealed evidence. A warrant of arrest was served against the prosecutor in January 2001 but he went into hiding. Carlos Cardoso was also investigating a case of loans at excessive interest rates, in which the Satar brothers were involved.
Carlos Cardoso, managing editor of Metical, was murdered on the evening of 22 November 2000, on Martires de Machava avenue in Maputo. He was in his car with his driver when two men blocked the road in front of them and opened fire. Carlos Cardoso, hit in the head several times, died instantly. His driver was seriously wounded. The journalist had just left the newspaper's offices and was on his way home.
One journalist arrested
Kok Nam, managing editor of the weekly Savannah, was arrested on 28 November 2001 in Maputo. He had been fined 100,000 meticais (about 5 euros) a few days earlier for "contempt of court" after failing to appear in court in Inhassoro, 750 km north of Maputo, in a case in which Savannah was sued for libel. The court decided to send someone to Maputo to arrest the journalist and force him to appear in court. The entire Mozambican press was surprised by this procedure and the government news agency AIM pointed out that it was absurd to send someone to Maputo for "less than five dollars". "Just the petrol needed to get there and back costs much more", added the agency. The journalist was released the day after his arrest.
Two journalists attacked
Rui de Carvalho, journalist with the privately-owned daily Mediafax, was assaulted by unidentified individuals on 27 April 2001 in Maputo. The journalist was immediately taken to hospital where he received treatment to his eye. The assailants had forced him to stop his car and had pinned him to the ground and hit him. They had not tried to steal his car nor to harm his wife, present on the scene. Only his identity papers were stolen.
On 1 November a cameraman with the national television channel TVM, Jose Arlindo, was hit by security agents of the opposition party Renamo in Nampula, in northern Mozambique. The journalist was taking pictures of a peaceful demonstration by former Renamo soldiers during the sixth party congress. Another cameraman received the same treatment while filming violent acts against the demonstrators by members of the party security officials.
Pressure and obstruction
On 30 March 2001 the state president's son, Nyimpine Chissano, threatened to sue Metical. Antonio Balate, his lawyer, explained that the newspaper had published two articles containing "false information likely to damage the image of [his] client and his family". In particular, he said that the president's son had never "gone into a Maputo police station and insulted the police officers" as Metical had reported. According to Mr. Balate, his client had never transported cocaine. He asked Metical to publish a correction. On 3 April the editors of Metical published an answer stating that "they could not rectify something that they had not written". According to the newspaper, no article had reported the implication of the president's son in an affair of drug trafficking.