The position was broadcast this Monday in prime time on the two state-run television stations, with the respective anchors announcing the decision of the administrations of the two media to abandon the coverage of the activities promoted by UNITA, not to interview its leaders, militants or other party officials and demanding retraction and public apologies from UNITA's management.
On Saturday, during a march called by the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), which brought together in Luanda thousands of militants, sympathizers and supporters of this and other political forces, as well as members of civil society, in favor of fair and free elections, the journalists of the public channels were the target of intimidation and threats.
The attitude was condemned by the president of the Union of Angolan Journalists (SJA), Teixeira Cândido, who described it as "an obstruction to the exercise of press freedom which is a fundamental right that all public and private entities must respect".
The president of UNITA, Adalberto da Costa Júnior, also repudiated the act of intolerance and said that the threats did not come from UNITA's leadership, regretting at the same time the exclusion that the party alleges to be a target in the media coverage by state organs.
UNITA has repeatedly criticized the fact that its president, elected at the party's last congress, held in November 2019, has never been interviewed on TPA
Adalberto da Costa Júnior was interviewed on TV Zimbo, belonging to the private group Medianova, in December of that year, but in July 2020 the group (which includes the newspaper O País, Radio Mais and TV Zimbo) was handed over to the National Asset Recovery Service and is now controlled by the Ministry of Telecommunications, Information Technology and Media (MINTTICS).
In April this year, MINTTICS suspended three private channels (Record TV Africa, ZAP Viva and Vida TV), alleging legal non-compliances related to licensing.
So far, MINTTICS has given no further explanation on the procedures being followed, nor has it advanced any deadline for the channels to resume broadcasting.
MINTTICS released a statement on Saturday regretting the aggression and intimidation to which the reporting teams were subjected. It also expressed solidarity with the journalists and called on the entities that defend journalists not to remain silent "in the face of this flagrant and reprehensible situation of political intolerance," which the president of the union considered "unreasonable".
Teixeira Cândido also found it strange that MINTTICS "is only releasing a statement now" and has never spoken out on other occasions.
"We have had several situations in which journalists have been assaulted, detained, or prevented from doing their work, and the ministry has not spoken out. So it was a surprise," said the head of the SJA.
The MPLA, a party in power for 45 years, on Monday called on the judiciary to hold to account those responsible for the "barbaric act" that put at risk the physical integrity and dignity of information professionals.
In a statement, MPLA's Political Bureau Secretariat condemned "vehemently the physical and verbal aggression perpetrated on September 11 by UNITA on journalists from TPA [Televisão Pública de Angola] and TV Zimbo" and called on the organs of the administration of justice and the entities that regulate the media sector to "call to account the authors of the barbaric act".
Angola has general elections scheduled for 2022 and is already experiencing a pre-election period marked by worsening tensions between the ruling MPLA party and UNITA, which has joined other angolan political opposition forces in a United Democratic Front to win the election.