Radio Ecclesia: Ownership Between Bishops and Rulers

The Angolan Catholic-run Radio Ecclesia has been receiving financial support from the Ministry of Information, even though the government has not yet granted legal status to the radio station. The station was given back to the Catholic Church in 1997 after being banned 20 years earlier. Just last year, Radio Ecclesia simultaneously fired several journalists and cancelled programs without reviewing their ratings. The current management is facing increasing numbers of accusations of censorship. State sponsorship Maka Angola has had access to two documents corroborating a withdrawal order by the Ministry of Finance, to the value of five million kwanzas (US$50,000), for deposit in an account owned by the radio station, in the Banco de Fomento de Angola. The deposit is described as “funding for Radio Ecclesia from the Ministry of Information”. The managing director of Radio Ecclesia, father Quintino Kandanji, informed Maka Angola that he has only received sporadic support […]

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The Logic of Democracy in Angola

I am reading this and I can’t believe it. So I read it again: “When people, including some politicians, say that there is a dictatorial regime in Angola, this is not true”, says Paulo de Carvalho, professor of the Faculty of Social Science of the Agostinho Neto University, in Luanda. He made this statement at a conference organised by the Centre for African Studies of the Institute of Political and Social Science in Lisbon (ISCSP), under the theme “Democracy and citizens’ rights in Angola”. In order to substantiate his belief, Paulo de Carvalho referred to an event which had taken place a while back in the Mário Soares Foundation in Lisbon, where the journalist and human rights activist had criticised the Angolan regime, and the scholar had replied to him thus: “If there was a dictatorial regime in Angola, you, my friend, Rafael Marques, would not be here speaking on […]

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Arresting the Short and Shabby Journalist

In a repressive state with the veneer of democratically elected institutions, such as Angola, the ways in which abuse is rationalized can sound like a parody. Journalist Coque Mukuta, 28, experienced such a parody on January 4, 2013, while interviewing women street vendors about how they had been arbitrarily beaten by the police while selling in the streets of Viana, in the outskirts of Luanda. “I personally saw, while doing my work, six police officers severely lashing women street vendors with electric wires with the plastic insulation removed (fios eléctricos descascados),” said Mukuta. Rather than leaving the area, the journalist, who is the correspondent for the Portuguese service of Voice of America, remained adamant in finishing the recording of his third interview on site. “They [the six police officers] came straight at me, hauled me off into their vehicle, confiscated my equipment, and slapped me several times, and told me […]

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