Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
- Despite constitutional guarantees, freedom of the press is restricted in Angola.
- Defamation remains a criminal offense, punishable by high fines and imprisonment. The Law on State Secrecy permits the government to classify information, at times unnecessarily, and prosecute those who publish it. In July 2009, journalist Eugenio Mateus of the weekly O Pais was sentenced to a suspended three-month jail term for alleged “abuse of the media,” according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa.
- Private media are often denied access to official information and events. Foreign journalists are generally able to operate with fewer government restrictions than their local counterparts, but are occasionally subject to some harassment. In December 2009, Benoit Faucon, a reporter for Dow Jones, was detained for several hours and questioned after photographing a new soccer stadium.
- There are some instances of official censorship and interference with editorial content. In 2008, the state-run Angola Public Television (TPA) suspended a leading anchorman without pay for four months after he publicly denounced censorship at the station, and three journalists for the state broadcaster Angola National Radio (RNA) were suspended indefinitely in October after questioning President Jose dos Santos’s ministerial choices.
- While less common than in previous years, arbitrary detention, harassment, and attacks on journalists continue to occur. In May 2009, William Tonet, editor of the private biweekly Folha 8, had his passport seized when he tried to travel to neighboring Namibia.
- Many journalists practice self-censorship to avoid reprisals, especially outside of Luanda, the capital. Conditions are particularly restrictive in the exclave of Cabinda.
- The government continues to dominate both print and broadcast media, controlling TPA, RNA, and the country’s only national daily, Jornal de Angola. In 2008, the implementation of a 2006 press law ended the state monopoly on television and partially opened the airwaves to independent radio broadcasts. TV Zimbo, the country’s first private television station, began broadcasting in late 2008. Although a number of privately owned radio stations operate, they are only allowed to broadcast within the province in which they are located. Independent print and broadcast media provide some diversity of views and criticism of the government, but they are largely limited to urban areas.
- Internet access is generally unrestricted and available in several provincial capitals, though less than 4 percent of the population was able to make use of this medium owing to cost constraints. Some reports indicate that the government may monitor chat rooms, websites, and e-mail.