Angolan journalists under fire

Angolan journalists on Wednesday expressed solidarity with staff of a privately owned weekly, Angolense, which faces legal action from senior officials accused of embezzlement.

The Union of Angolan Journalists (UJA), to which most journalists in the country belong, issued a statement declaring that the controversial articles respected the public right to information as well as expressing press freedom.

The state prosecutor’s office has warned it has begun a probe into claims by Angolense, which published a list of 59 top figures, including President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, it accuses of making fortunes by embezzlement.

The ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) last week said that it would take legal action against the weekly paper and called on judicial authorities to tackle the “criminal responsibilities” of its staff.

Defence Minister Kundi Pahyama, who is also among those targeted by the weekly, has also said he will take legal action. A small opposition party, the National Democratic Convention of Angola (CNDA) led by a former MPLA official, Paulino Pinto Joao, has expressed its solidarity with Angolense, however.

“True or not, the articles in Angolense provide a perfect opportunity to launch a national debate on corruption,” the CNDA said in a statement. - Sapa-AFP

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