Youth-led and social media-fueled protests demanding reform challenged President José Eduardo Dos
Santos, who marked 32 years in power. Parliament,
controlled by Dos Santos’ MPLA party, considered legislation to “combat crime” in information and communication
technology. The bill, pending in late year,
would stiffen penalties for defamation and would criminalize electronic dissemination of “recordings, pictures, and
video” of any individual without the
subject’s consent. In nationally televised remarks targeting
citizen journalists, Dos Santos lashed out at
the use of the Internet to organize “unauthorized demonstrations to insult, denigrate, provoke uproar and confusion.”
(One YouTube user called Kimangakialo posted more than 150 clips of protests.) In the same April
address, Dos Santos claimed journalists enjoyed
unfettered freedom to criticize his leadership. But CPJ research shows that security forces assaulted, detained,
and obstructed independent journalists covering protests and official functions. Powerful
public figures and officials used
security forces and the courts to settle scores with reporters investigating allegations of abuse of power, corruption, or
misconduct. Two journalists, Armando José Chicoca and William Tonet, were sentenced to prison over their critical coverage; they were free on
appeal in late year. José Manuel Gimbi faced intimidation from
security forces while reporting from the
militarized, oil-rich enclave of Cabinda. Denial-of-service attacks targeted the exile-run websites Club-K and
Angola24horas, taking them off-line in October.
CPJ research charted a significant rise in attacks on the press in 2011. Cases of assault, censorship, detention, and threats jumped more than three-fold over 2010. Many involved journalists covering anti-government protests.
The pending Internet bill proposed a stiff penalty for those “who without consent provide, transmit, make available, or distribute recordings, films, and photographs of another person through a system of information.” At least four existing laws criminalize journalistic activities.
1886: Colonial-era penal code set a six-month prison penalty for defaming officials.
2002: State Secrecy Law imposed a two-year prison penalty for possession of official documents deemed sensitive.
2006: Press Law allowed courts to suspend media outlets for a year.
2010: State Security Crime Law set a two-year prison penalty for "words, images, writings, or sound insulting" to the president or official institutions.
Officials of the ruling MPLA, their family members, and businesses aligned with the party have controlling interest in all but two of Angola's private newspapers, according to CPJ research.
2 independent papers:
7 papers supportive of MPLA:
In addition to controlling the national public broadcasters, officials of the ruling MPLA controlled all but two private radio stations, according to local journalists.
2 independent stations:
8 stations supportive of MPLA:
Rádio Nacional de Angola
Televisão Publica de Angola
FM Rádio LAC
FM Radio Comercial de Cabinda
FM Radio 2000
FM Radio Morena
Ten journalists have been killed for their work in Angola over the last two decades, according to CPJ research. Many of the deaths occurred during the country's 27-year civil war.
A breakdown of fatalities since 1992:
7: Journalists murdered
2: Journalists killed in crossfire
1: Journalist killed on a dangerous assignment
0: Arrests in the killings
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.