On the night of 23 August 2020, the offices of Canal De Mozambique (CanalMoz) suffered a suspected arson attack with reports indicating that computers and other key equipment were burnt down.
It is suspected that the arsonists used a crude device, with a flammable liquid, known as a Molotov cocktail, to bomb the offices of the independent news organisation.
CanalMoz, a weekly newspaper, has made a name for itself through its reportage on corruption and misgovernance.
The newspaper’s next publication date is Wednesday 26 August 2020, but the arson attack may make it impossible for CanalMoz to publish.
In July this year, Matias Guente, the publication’s editor, was questioned by authorities on allegations that he had violated the Official Secrets Act after CanalMoz published details about oil contracts between the government and the oil multinationals operating in Cabo Delgado province, in northern Mozambique.
At the end of last year, Guente survived a kidnap attempt near the general staff offices of the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM). Armed men tried to drag him into a vehicle, but failed.
MISA Zimbabwe position
The arson attack on the offices of CanalMozhas has all the hallmarks of a continuation of violations against the media in that country.
Besides the attack on CanalMoz offices, Mozambican authorities are yet to account for journalist, Ibraimo Abu Mbaruco, who has been missing for more than four months.
Clearly, a pattern is developing, where journalists and media organisations who are seen to be critical of government operations are attacked.
We urge Mozambican authorities such as the police and other law enforcement agencies to conduct extensive and transparent investigations to ensure they establish who was responsible for the arson attack on the CanalMoz offices. Furthermore, those that are implicated should be prosecuted.
We also call upon Mozambican authorities to ensure the protection and the advancement of media freedom.
MISA Zimbabwe is worried that press freedom is on the decline in Mozambique and calls upon authorities to address these worrying developments given the critical role played by the media in entrenching democracy, transparency and accountable governance.
Source: MISA Zimbabwe