2 March 2012

Mozambique: CNN Journalists Detained - Then Released

Maputo — Three journalists from the American television channel CNN, who are making a programme about Mozambique, were arrested by Mozambican police on Friday morning, as they filmed in the Fajardo wholesale market in Maputo.

The CNN crew consisted of the producer of the programme "Inside Africa", Aja Harris, reporter Errol Barnet, and cameraman Peter Rudden.

According to Erik Charas, founder of the free weekly paper "A Verdade", who was accompanying the CNN team, they were accused of filming the market "without police authorisation".

There is no such crime. The CNN team entered the country legally, and there is no requirement that journalists (or anyone else) must ask permission from the police to film in public places.

Charas says he tried to explain to the police at the Maputo seventh precinct that the harassment of foreign journalists would paint a very poor picture of Mozambique in the outside world.

Instead of listening to sensible advice, the police said they would call in an expert to analyse the film shot by CNN.

The illegal behaviour of the seventh precinct police soon became known to other Mozambique journalists, who in turn advised the press attaches of several ministries. As a result, the scandal reached the ears of the General Command of the Mozambican Police and of Attorney-General Augusto Paulino.

Paulino ordered the immediate release of the CNN team, and at the precinct the journalists received apologies from the police command. Nonetheless, three hours of filming time had been wasted.

It is not yet clear whether any measures will be taken against those policemen who confused visiting foreign journalists with dangerous criminals.

Copyright © 2012 Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.