The African Freedom of Exprssion Exchange (AFEX) welcomes the release of two Mozambicain journalsits, Amade Abubacar and Germano Daniela Adriano who were detained for months for covering internally displaced people fleeing from terrorist attacks in the Cabo Delgado region in northern Mozambique.
The two journalists working with local community radio and Television station Nacedje in the town of Macomia, were released on April 23, 2019 but are charged with “spreading messages damaging to the Mozambican Armed Forces.”
Military officers on January 5, 2019 arrested, Amade Abubacar who was photographing people fleeing from violent attacks. The Cabo Delgado region has faced invasions by unidentified groups since October 2017.
Similarly, Adriano from the same community radio station where Abubacar works, was also arrested on February 18, 2019 by military personnel in the same region for covering similar attacks against residents of that part of the country. According to a statement from AFEX member, Mozambique chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), both journalists have since been charged with “violation of state secrets using a computer” and “public instigation to crime using a computer”.
The detention of the two journalists received condemnation from the global press freedom community including AFEX.
While AFEX welcomes the release of the journalists, we will like to appeal to the government to drop all charges against the two journalists to enable them carry out their journalistic duties in the country. Such arbitrary attacks against journalists would result in a culture of self-censorship among the media which is dangerous for the growth of any society.