Violence used to obstruct coverage of municipal elections in Mozambique
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns acts of violence against reporters covering the municipal elections in Mozambique on 11 October, and calls on the authorities to protect journalists and the right to information.
In Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, in Beira, the capital of the eastern province of Sofala, and in the northeast of the country, security forces and polling station officials prevented several reporters from covering the elections by attacking them and confiscating equipment, or otherwise obstructing them. No complaint has been filed and, until now, no investigation has been opened.
The incidents that occurred while reporters were covering the municipal elections are regrettable and must not go unpunished. We call on the authorities to identify and punish the perpetrators and to take all necessary measures for the safety of journalists before, during and after next year's presidential election.
In Maputo, officials in charge of a polling station installed in a primary school locked TV Sucesso reporter Coutinho Macanandze in one of the school’s rooms and beat him while four police officers looked on without intervening. His cameraman, Valdo Massingue, was prevented from entering the polling station to film the vote count.
In Beira, Televisão Académica video reporter Leonardo Limane was attacked and injured by members of a police rapid intervention unit after he filmed members of the public being prevented from entering a voting centre to watch the vote count. After examining his injuries – a sprained and inflamed ankle – a doctor ordered 15 days off work.
In the northeastern city of Quelimane, a police officer grabbed Rádio Zambézia FM reporter Luís Simindila’s equipment while he was doing a live broadcast. The president of one of the polling stations installed in a primary school in the Coalane district of Quelimane prevented Nova Rádio Paz reporter Antenor Frederico from covering the vote count.