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The Mozambican chapter of the regional press freedom body MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa) has warned that citizens cannot be journalists and political activists at the same time.
The latest MISA-Mozambique newsletter says the organisation has become aware of journalists “who are involved actively in political party activities without renouncing their journalistic functions, which places them in a clear situation of incompatibilities”.
MISA argues that while journalists, like any other citizens, have the right to join political parties, they should only be actively involved in political party activities “if they renounce, temporarily or definitively, the exercise of journalism”.
The MISA statement claims that journalism is incompatible “with designing or presenting, through text, voice or image, publicity messages” or with “functions of marketing, public relations, working as a press officer or consultant in communications, or planning, guiding and implementing commercial activities”.
Journalists in such a situation, it continues, cannot guarantee their independence, impartiality or objectivity. Nor will they be able “to respect ethical standards in the search for electoral information”, or provide equal treatment for election candidates and political parties.
MISA urged anyone who is face with such an incompatibility to renounce either his political or his journalistic activities.
Anybody who continues to operate both as a journalist and as a party political activity “can no longer be treated as a journalist”, MISA warns.
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