Statement on the Violation of Press Freedom
UFOLO STATEMENT ON THE VIOLATION OF PRESS FREEDOM AND THE DETENTION OF JOURNALISTS DURING THE DEMONSTRATION ON 24 OCTOBER 2020
Turbulent times demand clear positions. Let there be no doubt about the principles and choices that guide us.
We vehemently reject the imprisonment, the aggression and the restrictions suffered by journalists in the course of their professional duties.
Without a freely functioning press there cannot be progress, development or justice.
We therefore strongly condemn the detention of journalists, photographers and other support staff during the demonstration on 24 October 2020.
Specifically, we demand the immediate and unconditional release of Suely de Melo, Carlos Tomé and Santos Samuesseca, as well as the driver Leonardo Faustino, from the newspaper Valor Económico and the broadcaster Rádio Essencial, both of which belong to GEM Angola Global Media.
We also denounce and condemn the arrest of Domingos Caiombo and Octávio Zoba, respectively reporter and cameraman at TV Zimbo, who were forced to delete the images they had taken of the demonstration.
We are equally outraged at the detention and aggression suffered by photographer Osvaldo Silva of Agence France Presse. After detaining Osvaldo Silva a first time at the demonstration, the Angolan National Police confiscated his journalist’s credentials and took him to the Provincial Headquarters of the National Police, where five officers threw him to the ground and kicked and punched him, and deleted the photographs he had taken. After about two hours Osvaldo was released. No sooner had he returned to the demonstration than the National Police attacked him again, beating him on the buttocks and torso with metal cables.
Press freedom is a fundamental right guaranteed in the Constitution. Article 44 of the Constitution of the Republic of Angola (CRA) guarantees press freedom, which may not be subjected to any kind of prior censorship, whether political, ideological or artistic.
This rule has immediate and direct application and is binding on all public and private bodies (CRA article 28). Its suspension is prohibited other than in cases of war, siege and state of emergency (CRA article 58). This liberty may not be curtailed in any normal circumstances.
The executive director of the
Centro de Estudos UFOLO para a Boa Governação
Rafael Marques de Morais
* Photo: courtesy of Osvaldo da Silva