Angola: Free press for poll urged

2012-08-01 20:19
Jose Eduardo dos Santos (AFP)

Jose Eduardo dos Santos (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lisbon - Angola's ruling MPLA is using state media to its own advantage and restricting freedom of expression in the campaign for a general election on 31 August, the main opposition party and a global rights group said on Wednesday.

Campaigning started on Tuesday with the head of the elections body urging media outlets to give equal treatment to the nine parties running in what will be only Angola's second election since the end of a 27-year civil war a decade ago.

President Jose Eduardo dos Santos - in power for 32 years in Africa's top oil producer after Nigeria - is expected to lead the MPLA to victory in the vote for lawmakers and a president.

Dos Santos' supporters cite his role in unifying the nation after the end of the war and then overseeing rapid growth, while opponents say he suppresses dissent.

"We have attacks on press freedom and the abusive use of state media organs," Isaias Samakuva, leader of the main opposition party Unita, told journalists on Wednesday.

"[State-owned] Angolan Public Television and Angolan National Radio have arbitrarily decided to use public newscasts to promote the bid of the ruling party," he added.


The government runs official state TV, radio and newspapers, but denies accusations it uses them to give an uncritical portrayal of its policies and leaders.

The MPLA won the civil war against Unita and crushed its rivals in a 2008 election by obtaining 82% of the vote.

Rights watchdogs have long accused Dos Santos' government of avoiding public scrutiny and suppressing press freedom.

New-York based Human Rights Watch said in a report published on Wednesday that "ruling party bias and restrictions on the media" were among key concerns it had identified in the election in 2008 and these had still not been addressed.

It also urged the government to stop using "excessive force, arbitrary arrests and unfair trials" to clamp down on a youth movement that has staged several protest rallies calling for Dos Santos to quit and on demonstrations by war veterans claiming unpaid pensions.

The government has denied using force to stifle dissent, and Dos Santos has called on young Angolans to put their faith in his policies, which he says will create jobs and social justice.

"I know the young are in a hurry and I understand them. In my youth I was also in a rush to change the country," Dos Santos said at a rally to launch the MPLA's campaign on Tuesday.

"Our goal is to offer more opportunities for personal and professional growth for all, especially the young."

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    jose eduardo dos santos  |  angola  |  southern africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Byrne: Israel Folau a 'freak'
LIVE: New Zealand 42-9 Tonga
England World Cup coaches barred
Lancaster comes out guns blazing

It is always easier to notice the faults in others rather than face our own. Focusing too much on the perfect and ideal more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.