Speaking to Agência Lusa, David Boio explained that he was called to the authorities if heard as a declarant because of a program by the social activist 'Gangasta', suspected of criminal association, instigation to rebellion, instigation to civil disobedience and outrage to the President of the Republic.
“They called me to go to SIC as a declarant. I went there, but in practice, more than asking questions about the process, they asked questions about our portal”, said David Boio.
Accompanied by his lawyer, the businessman explained that, in May last year, they had received a notification from the Ministry of Social Communication to present the documents that authorized the operation of the portal.
“At the time, we responded to the ministry, saying that we did not know, according to the analysis we made of the Press Law, we did not find a legal framework for the contents that are simply on social networks and the Government never responded back to us”, he stressed.
‘Gangsta’, a critic of power, refuses to comply with the term of identity and residence imposed on him by the Angolan justice, finding himself camped in an uncertain location.
“We have not received anything formal from the Ministry [Telecommunications, Information Technology and Social Communication]”, acknowledged David Boio, noting that 'Gangsta' was part of a program called 360.º which was, for some time, broadcast on Youtube, on Camundanews platform, from which the processes of incitement to violence or rebellion and crime against State security were filed.
During interrogation, continued David Boio, the authorities informed that it was just a portal, not a company, which is on Facebook and YouTube, with volunteers, who "by citizenship" produce content.
“Three weeks ago they called me again to go there, they asked me to take the company's documents from the office and the attorney wanted me to go there to be heard again”, he said.
After some time, in Luanda, the owner of TV Camundanews, responded to the notification and the instructor insisted that it was necessary to present a document on the legalization of the YouTube channel.
“I told him we don't have it, I had already explained that. They wanted me to make a kind of confession saying that I was carrying out an illegal activity, I said no again. There is no illegality unless there is another understanding of the Press Law”, he reinforced.
The objective, in his opinion, is “to set up something like: the 'Gangsta' supposedly committed a crime, the crime was committed in a program, the program was shown on the Camundanews portal and the crime was made on an illegal portal, I think it is the narrative that they are riding”.
“I spent more than an hour giving statements and, in the end, you told me that you had gathered everything, that you were going to hand it over to the prosecutor and the prosecutor was going to decide the matter for trial, and that I had to wait, to see if they would only keep me as a declarant or if, according to the matter, they can include me anything else”, he added.
To his collaborators, David Boio informed what if what was going on and many “have been scared since last year, when we had the SIC inside and the staff is a little scared. I told them that nobody forces anyone to stay, if they want we can suspend it until the situation evolves”.
“People are scared because they don't clarify things. I went there, two other collaborators of mine also had to go to the SIC, they are younger, then that is a department of crimes against state security, all this creates fear”, he explained.
Asked about the state of press freedom in Angola in recent years, David Boio highlighted that “before 2022, before the elections, they [the Government] did not give much importance to this internet thing, they always said that this is nothing, that Angolans do not have access to the internet, but they were surprised last year”.
The importance of the channel "came a lot of attention when we did an interview with Adalberto [leader of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola], which had a lot, really a lot of audience", he underlined.
"That's why I think that, in May of last year, the ministry notified us, but formally they realized that they had nowhere to take it, because if they did, they would do what they did to ZAP and the others, order it to close and that was it", he stressed. , in reference to other private media companies.
According to David Boio, the authorities find it difficult to formally close Camundanews, "but then they subject people to these things, to see if people get fed up".
With these pressures, “nobody wants to live like this, I can't be going to the SIC all the time, I have more to do” and it is “always a risk”, he considered.
“Basically, what they want is for people to be afraid”, he said, noting that his employees are under pressure from family members who are concerned about their safety, which is why he decided to “stop and think about it calmly, so that later see yourself”.
This Wednesday, the Union of Angolan Journalists (SJA) considered the pressure on the owner of Camundanews to suspend the broadcast of journalistic content for alleged violation of the Press Law as an attack on press freedom.
In a press release, which the Lusa agency had access to today, the SJA considers an "abuse of power and obstruction to the exercise of freedom of the press the pressure on the owner of Camundanews to cease the broadcast of informative content, and calls on the Regulatory Entity of Social Communication to speak out in favor of freedom of the press".