Police Must Stop the Intimidation of Journalists in Angola, say IFJ and FAJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) today called on authorities in Angola to stop the country’s security forces from intimidating journalists while they are carrying out their work.  According to IFJ/FAJ affiliate, the Union of Angolan Journalists (SJA in Portuguese), Queirós Anastácio Chilúvia, deputy editor of the Despertar private radio station, was arrested on Feb 2 for broadcasting the shouts of prisoners calling for help for a very ill fellow inmate. Chilúvia was held for three days before a court gave him a six-month suspended jail sentence on 7 February. “The charges against our colleague must be dropped immediately and unconditionnally as he has only done his work as allowed by the country’s constitution”, said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa director. The Union of Angolan Journalists believes that certain representatives of the state are misusing their power to intimidate and harass the country’s journalists. The SJA has stated that the unfounded accusation of "illegal exercise of the press, libel," which served as the basis for Chilúvia’s conviction by the Municipal Court of Cacuaco, demonstrates the apparent intention of the national police to violate press freedom rights and the rights to freedom of expression in Angola. The Union has also questioned the involvement of the national police in the country’s legal matters.“Journalism in a democracy is never regulated by the national police,” said SJA President Maria Luisa de Carvalho Rogério. “The SJA does not believe the national police should have any professional authority to dictate good journalism practices”.“We condemn the repressive attitude of the national police and are appealing to the Angolan authorities to ensure that the rights and freedoms of media professionals in the country are respected”, says Mohamed Garba, FAJ President.For more information, please contact: +221 33 867 95 86/87The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countriesFAJ represents more than 50.000 journalists in 40 countries in Africa