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Attorney General denies persecution of journalists

The Attorney General of the Republic (PGR), Hélder Pitta Grós, denied this Monday the alleged persecution of journalists, imputed to the body he directs, stating that "he never had knowledge about the matter".

: Lusa
Lusa  

"I never had knowledge of that. At least I never received any information or complaint from any journalist saying that he is being persecuted by the Attorney General's Office, I am not aware of any case," said Hélder Pitta Grós, when asked by Lusa on the sidelines of the signing ceremony of an agreement on legal and judicial assistance in criminal matters.

A group of journalists held a protest on June 15 in Luanda, near the offices of the Attorney General of the Republic, to denounce alleged judicial "persecution" against media professionals in Angola.

With placards in hand, with the slogans: "Enough! Investigate the Prosecutors and not the Journalists"; "Journalists do not steal from the people"; "Persecuting Journalists is oppressing society" and "Down with persecution against journalists", Coque Mukuta, from Voz da América, Lucas Pedro, from Club-K, Jorge Neto, from O Estado News, and Escrivão José, from Jornal Hora H, stayed there for about an hour.

In statements to Lusa news agency, journalist Lucas Pedro, of the information site Club-K, notified to respond in at least three processes, said that the aim was to challenge a series of processes that the PGR, through the Criminal Investigation Service, has done in recent times.

"Only in the past month, which is the month of press freedom, several Angolan journalists in Luanda were summoned almost on the same day to answer to numerous processes, all of them about defamation and slander," said Lucas Pedro.

For his part, Coque Mukuta said that the main purpose of the protest was to show the authorities that journalists are not to blame for the problems that have been happening in the country: "There are people who should be investigated, not journalists".

"We are seven journalists with cases currently underway, to be investigated, I already have 13 criminal cases at the OPG and it is necessary that the OPG understands that journalistic activity, like theirs, is in good faith, we are not here to persecute anyone," he stressed.

Coque Mukuta considered it unacceptable that the OPG continues to "hinder" the life and work of journalists, considering that "when you intimidate the journalist you certainly intimidate the society".

With the closure of several private organs in recent times, Coque Mukuta said that the population is now hostage to information "that suits the political power."

"They have manipulated, received all the organs, taken all the organs hostage, and now they are going to hit the journalists who seem to them to have more freedom, in order to end up cylindering almost everyone, and that is their great objective," he said.

The journalist Escrivão José, director of the Hora H Newspaper, with more than 20 notifications, all for libel and slander, said he wanted to alert the government to stop the persecution of journalists.

"All these notifications are from Angolan rulers and are more to intimidate. When we are called to respond we present the evidence, many times the sources that give the face are called and everything is just intimidation," he said.

"We want them to investigate the corrupt rulers, who have disgraced this country, those who steal the money, the public treasury, and not the journalists. I have a notice to answer on the 17th from a governor who had allegedly embezzled money to supply water in a certain region and I will be there," he said.

Escrivão José said that he has received several times anonymous messages with death threats, having already denounced the fact to the Criminal Investigation Service, which guarantees that it will find these people, but "this process never moved".

In his turn, Jorge Neto, journalist from the newspaper O Estado News, said that he is the target of three criminal processes, which he sees as a form of intimidation of his work, but assured that this will not stop the work, "which is to train and inform the communities about what is happening in the country.

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