Defiant Journalists Condemn Assassination of Editor in Mozambique: "We will not be silenced"

THE International Federation of Journalists, the world's largest journalists organisation, has condemned the killing on November 22nd of Carlos Cardoso, one of Mozambique's most distinguished journalists. The editor of the independent daily Metical, Cardoso was gunned down in an ambush last Wednesday, near his office in the Mozambican capital, Maputo.

Two vehicles drew level with Cardoso's car, at least two men got out and opened fire on him at point-blank range. A crew from Mozambican Television (TVM) arrived on the murder scene soon after the shooting and the main TV news began with the shocking images of the police removing Cardoso's bullet-ridden body from the car.

In the first official reaction to the murder, Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi told TVM that he was "deeply shocked" and "profoundly affected" by Cardoso's death. He praised Cardoso, a former director of the state-owned AIM (Mozambique News Agency) as "a journalist who has fought tirelessly for freedom of the press."

Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ, said: "This is a brutal and shocking assault on press freedom and removes from the African community of journalists a courageous and distinguished veteran of the struggle for democracy."

The IFJ supported the defiant message from Mozambican journalists and politicians alike are deeply shocked by the news. Hilario Matusse, general secretary of the Mozambican Journalists' Union, an IFJ affiliate, described the assassination as "an attempt to silence all of us."

"Carlos Cardoso was a person who always spoke his mind," Matusse said. "But if anyone disagreed with him, he was always willing to sit down and discuss with him." Adding that the killing was "a blatant attack on press freedom," Matusse pledged that the union would demand "rapid intervention by the authorities" to track down the assassins and bring them to justice.

Manuel Tome, general secretary of the ruling FRELIOM party, and himself a journalist by profession, said he was "profoundly shocked and profoundly indignant." "Nobody has the right to silence a voice that was speaking out against the ills of society," he declared. Tome said that Cardoso "embodied investigative journalism, a journalism based on ethics, a journalism that fought for the country. Carlos Cardoso was a great patriot." He added that vigorous police action was needed to find the murderers. "Those who committed this crime must be severely punished, he said. "We cannot tolerate crimes of this sort that destabilise society."

Cardoso founded Mediafax, the country's first independent newspaper, at the beginning of the 1990s, before launching Metical in 1998.