Rioters attack state media journalists in Angola, accuse them of being 'sell-outs'


  • State-controlled media journalists have been attacked in Angola for their alleged pro-government reporting.
  • Angola is due to hold general elections in August and there are growing fears over a clamp down on media freedom.
  • 15 people were arrested on allegations of attacking the journalists and are due in court.

Six journalists from Angola's state media were attacked by rioters as they were about to cover a taxi drivers' strike in the capital of Luanda on 10 January.

The journalists attacked included TV Zimbo reporter Telmo Gama and his cameraman Justino Campos, and TV Palanca reporters Anselmo Nhati and Orlando Luís, cameramen António Luamba and Daniel Lutaka.

TV Zimbo and TV Palanca are both state-controlled, with the latter, alongside Rádio Global and Agência de Produção de Programas de Aúdio e Visual, taken over by the state last August.

One of the journalists quoted by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said they were called sell-outs before rioters charged at them.

READ | Haiti newsman tells of escape from deadly attack by 'all-powerful' gang

"Someone started to shout that we were 'sell-outs'," said Campos.

Gama told CPJ that petrol had been splashed on them.

"I wasn't seriously harmed physically, but I feared for our lives when I realised petrol was thrown at our backs, as we were rushing towards the nearby police station," he said.

Nhati was quoted by local media in Angola:

We were getting ready to launch the live signal when we were verbally and physically attacked, and almost burnt.

In an interview with CPJ, Teixeira Cândido, the secretary-general of the Journalists Syndicate - an umbrella welfare organisation for media practitioners in the country, said state media journalists were being targeted and accused of biased reporting.

CPJ's Africa programme coordinator, Angela Quintal, said: "As shown by the recent attack on the TV Zimbo and TV Palanca news crews, reporters appear to be scapegoats for some citizens' perceived anger toward the state."

General elections are scheduled in Angola for August to elect a president and national assembly. Incumbent João Lourenço was eligible for one more term. CPJ feared as elections approached, journalists were increasingly in danger.

"CPJ is increasingly concerned that the environment for media freedom in Angola is deteriorating as the country approaches elections later this year. The press should be allowed to do its work free from intimidation and risk of assault so that all Angolans can enjoy their right to a diversity and plurality of news and information," said Quintal.

Media reports in Angola said at least 29 protesters were accused of vandalism and damage to property - 15 had been arrested in relation to the attack on the journalists.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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