Questioned by the press in Kwanza Norte about the decision taken by Televisão Pública de Angola (TPA) and TV Zimbo to no longer cover any political initiative of the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA), João Lourenço considered that the channels felt targeted by the actions of supporters of the largest opposition party, during a march last Saturday, called by UNITA.
The TV stations "felt the intolerance of a certain political party, they felt the lives of their journalists, of their professionals, in danger, and reacted in the way we all saw," said the President, recalling that the decision not to cover more UNITA actions was made by the "offended parties, in this case the media".
The head of state, who this Wednesday ends a two-day visit to the province of Kwanza Norte, said he believed "that the war of the communiqués" that was generated afterwards, from both sides, also "does not help".
"On the contrary, it increases the level of tension, which we, as the political leaders of this country, should try to avoid," he said.
For João Lourenço, "it is a matter of dialogue, of talking", believing that, if "this happens, the offended will end up forgiving and everything will go back to normal".
"Our country has been through much worse situations than this and, let's just say, those responsible for such situations ended up apologizing and the injured accepted these apologies, so it's a matter of talking and I believe that in the next few days the climate will be quite clear," he stressed.
On Tuesday, the Union of Angolan Journalists (SJA) also called for dialogue to try to overcome the decision by public television channels to suspend coverage of UNITA activities, over complaints of intimidation by supporters of the opposition party.
In a note signed by the general secretary, Teixeira Cândido, the SJA also asked journalists to refrain from participating in political disputes, noting that the political context, a year away from the general elections in 2022, requires "serenity" and noting that the president of UNITA, Adalberto da Costa Júnior, repudiated on the same day the threats and obstruction to the activity of journalists of those channels.
For the union, it is necessary to "maintain social peace and the democratic state and the rule of law," calling on the management of TPA and TV Zimbo to use dialogue as the "most sensible way to safeguard all interests at stake".
In a statement released after the pronouncement of the two channels, UNITA stressed that the decision comes to "confirm and officialize the repeated censorship" and violation of laws and deontology.
A statement from the Executive Secretariat of the Permanent Committee of the Political Commission, in which the party body analyzed "all the surroundings and consequences" of last Saturday's march organized by the party in favor of free elections in Angola and invited the guardianship and the managers of those organs "to reflect on their reiterated pamphleteering and exclusivist practice against UNITA and its leader."
The party recalled that its president, Adalberto da Costa Júnior, condemned at the time "the actions of the youths who prevented the reporting of the public television correspondents" and pointed out that "the legitimate defense of the employees" of the channels "cannot fall into the argument of not ordering them to cover future events organized by UNITA".
The Executive Secretariat also took "good note" of the concerns of the multisectoral Commission for the fight against covid-19, which repudiated the attitude of UNITA during Saturday's march in Luanda for violating the measures foreseen for the situation of public calamity due to the pandemic, and recommends that these concerns "be extended to all actors, including the MPLA.
MPLA, the ruling party, announced for Saturday a "March of the Millions" to demonstrate its popularity and support for the President, João Lourenço.
The initiative comes in response to UNITA's march, which brought together thousands of Angolans in Luanda, including from other opposition political forces and elements of civil society.