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Mozambican journalists are bracing themselves for difficult times as the government tightens the reins on media professionals.
Journalists’ associations in Mozambique are sending out an alert: difficult days lie ahead, especially for foreign correspondents in the country. The online newspaper “@ verdade”, a partner agency of DW, has even published an article with the following title: “Nyusi Government tightens siege on independent media and corresponding bar of foreign media”.
Through its media office GABINFO, Filipe Nyusi’s government will be “tightening the siege on independent media” and trying to “bar the presence of foreign journalists”, the @Verdade article reads.
In particular, the executive, through Decree No. 40/2018, has established various radio, television and print media licensing and registration fees, and increased the cost of accrediting foreign journalists.
Criticism of the new regime is deafening. In addition to quashing the emergence of new media and stifling those that already exist, the new law will make life difficult for Mozambican journalists working as foreign media correspondents with an accreditation fee that could amount to 500,000 meticais (about EUR 7,500), far in excess of what they could possibly earn in a year.
The Southern African Media Institute (MISA) Mozambique “took note of the decree in question and was shocked by its content”, President of MISA Moçambique Fernando Gonçalves said in an interview with DW.
DW Africa: We imagine it was with some surprise that you received the news that new media fees were being created in Mozambique…
Fernando Gonçalves (FG): In fact we were caught by surprise last week, more precisely on Wednesday, when, in the Bulletin of the Republic, GABINFO, a state entity, introduced these fees and increased others. GABINFO is the government entity that manages the media and the decision not only caught us by surprise but also spark a degree of indignation, because we believe these measures to be very penalising for the Mozambican media.
DW Africa: So GABINFO treats the media in Mozambique as if it were a very lucrative area where you earn a lot of money, thus justifying a considerable increase in fees. Is that it?
FG: As you may know, the media is not a lucrative business, nor is it capable of generating large revenues, and this legal system endangers the existence of a large number of media outfits in Mozambique. Therefore we consider it an attack on the [media] diversity and rights that the Constitution of Mozambique itself provides for.
DW Africa: And what will be behind these GABINFO measures? Is it in fact an unwillingness or the will to block, in particular, the entry of international correspondents into Mozambique? Or is it pure ignorance of realities?
FG: It has been practice in this country that issues of this nature are widely discussed with the sectors targeted by these measures. In this case there was no indication that anything was being done. We do not know what the intentions are, but the measure creates constraints, there is no doubt about it.
DW Africa: Has the accreditation fee already entered into force or is it for the moment a mere proposal from the Government?
FG: The decree has already entered into force for all practical purposes. It should be noted that the provisions of this decree are already in force.
DW Africa: Correspondents from international radios and portals, such as Deutsche Welle, will also need an extra accreditation and will have to pay for this accreditation?
FG: I do not have details on how things will be done, but there are no exceptions and therefore it is assumed that any correspondent from a foreign media body will have to respect the measure.
DW Africa: MISA-Moçambique has expressed strong opposition to this measure. Are any concrete protest measures or actions in preparation to change the intentions of the Government?
FG: We are studying the decree and in due course we will disclose our position on the matter.
Source: Deutsche Welle
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