Ver Angola

Society

Journalists admit risks to plurality with private group at the state level

The Union of Angolan Journalists (SJA) admitted that the transfer of companies from the private group Media Nova to the State “could harm the principle of plurality and impartiality” of information, while praising the safeguarding of jobs.

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According to the secretary general of SJA, Teixeira Cândido, the transfer of these private media companies (Jornal O País, Rádio Mais and TV Zimbo) to the State sphere comprises two faces, among which is the guarantee of employment for all employees. employees.

"The first is that, on the one hand, the State basically ensures the employment of all employees of Media Nova, a group that was laying off workers for financial incapacity and there were already systematic delays in paying wages," he said in an interview with Lusa.

The Media Nova group, he said, "was no longer able to produce to cover 40 percent of its needs", and now, he stressed, "the State saves jobs which for SJA is good".

The opposite side of this process, noted the union leader, is the concentration of these bodies in the state sphere, "which was not desirable", because the Press Law "prohibits the concentration of means so as not to harm the principles of plurality and impartiality information ".

There are "fears in society" that the State may be tempted to interfere in the editorial line of these hands ", because, he said," the state's history is one of interference in the management of public agencies, "which are legitimate fears".

Teixeira Cândido also said that the "State has not gone bankrupt" and that, despite the financial difficulties, "is in a position to assume the costs" resulting from the process, namely payment of wages and maintenance of companies.

"Now what the Law forbids is concentration and the question that arises is how long the State will have these organs in its sphere," he shot.

At the end of July, the Attorney General's Office (PGR) handed over the private media companies of the Media Nova group, generals "Dino" and "Kopelipa" and former vice-president Manuel Vicente, to the Ministry of Telecommunications , Information and Social Communication Technologies.

In a statement, the judicial body said that the delivery of Media Nova companies took place through the National Asset Recovery Service, "due to the fact that they were constituted with the support and institutional strengthening of the State".

The companies were owned by generals Leopoldino "Dino" Fragoso do Nascimento, Helder Dias "Kopelipa" and former vice president and former president of Sonangol, Manuel Vicente.

For the secretary general of SJA, in order to safeguard the editorial independence of the organs, the ideal would be their privatization, questioning, however, the "financial availability and patience" of entrepreneurs in betting on a business for long-term profits.

"The ideal was to privatize, but who will be the entrepreneur who is going to acquire? The problem that arises is who has the money or the patience to buy media and then not be able to make profits within five or ten years, at least" , he noticed.

The Press Law, he noted, "does not allow capital exceeding 30 percent, that is, not even foreigners can enter the media sector with force because the law does not, that is, the company must be mostly Angolan".

The secretary general of SJA also recalled that the situation of the country's media, especially private ones, "is critical and we do not have agencies in the country capable of employing 50 professionals".

Given the "gloomy" picture, Teixeira Cândido also stated that the possibility of growth of other organs in the Angolan market "is absolutely remote".

"There is no single possibility of growth, there may be one or the other means, but they must be sustainable, the situation of the private press is very critical", he concluded.

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