Ver Angola


Regulator denies restrictions on press freedom and suffocation of the Novo Jornal

The Angolan Social Communication Regulatory Entity (ERCA) said this Friday that “it is untimely and pure speculation” any mention of supposed intentions to restrict press freedom in Angola and denied any suffocation of the weekly newspaper Novo Jornal (NJ).


In the statement, ERCA said it was aware of the ruling on the dispute involving Wyde Capital, S.A and Sociedade Newmédia Angola S.A.

Business relationships (creation, merger, management or termination of the same), "even though they are in the media sector, are not the responsibility of ERCA, but rather of the corporate bodies of the companies and the judicial entities competent in relation to the matter", it says the organ.

The entity understands that the resolution of the dispute in the companies in question is the exclusive responsibility of the Luanda District Court, according to which "the requirements of the precautionary measure, favorable to Wyde Capital S.A, are cumulatively fulfilled, which is mandatory".

ERCA's board of directors "does not see any intention of suffocating the weekly Novo Jornal, which is just a part of Wyde Capital S.A", reads the statement.

According to ERCA, any mention of "alleged intentions to restrict press freedom in Angola is extemporaneous, pure speculation and an attempt to manipulate public opinion".

The director of Novo Jornal considered, on December 27th, the invasion of the organization's facilities in previous days, due to alleged court orders, as "repugnant", and denounced the attempt to "asphyxiate" the publication.

"What we had was disgusting. There were 40 individuals mandated by another party, from Mr. Álvaro Sobrinho, to intimidate journalists, preventing them from exercising their duties freely," Armindo Laureano told Lusa.

"We cannot attack journalism and journalists in such a vile, irresponsible and absurd way," he said.

At least 40 individuals, who Armindo Laureano claims to have acted at the behest of the Portuguese-Angolan businessman and former president of Banco Espírito Santo Angola (BESA), invaded the NJ facilities, allegedly complying with a court order.

Álvaro Sobrinho and Emanuel Madaleno, who are credited with owning the Nova Vaga Group, which owns the economic newspaper Expansão and the generalist Novo Jornal, are in legal litigation, and a ruling from the Provincial Court of Luanda is said to have motivated the "invasion" of the facilities of that private publication.

ERCA also states that regarding requests for intervention made to it, the entity's board of directors recalls that its mission "is to regulate and supervise media activities", in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

"These pronouncements that attribute to ERCA powers and duties that are not provided for in the Constitution and the law, have been recurring, thus manipulating public opinion with unconfessed objectives, which do not honor their authors", points out the Social Communication Regulatory Entity Angolan.


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