Mozambique will introduce new fees for foreign journalists and local reporters working for foreign outlets. From 22 August, accreditation will cost a cool $2,500 per trip, or $8,300 per year for foreigners and $500 per year for locals working for foreign media agencies.
If enforced, these fees will essentially shut down foreign reporting about Mozambique. The country is not exactly high on the agenda of foreign media anyway, given that many Western media outlets have difficulties with language barriers and regard Mozambique as a backwater. Already, foreign journalists reporting from Mozambique are exclusively freelancers, with the occasional team of colleagues parachuted in for special occasions.
Accreditation fees in the thousands of dollars will make it financially untenable for freelancers and staff reporters to work in Mozambique. There is simply no media accounting department in the world that would greenlight these kinds of expenses. $500 is also a considerable amount of money in the local context, severely limiting the option to partner with local journalists to cover Mozambique.
It is surely no accident that these punitive new rules come into effect one month before crucial municipal elections and about a year before Mozambicans vote for a new president in 2019. The government, which approved the new rules without public debate in July, obviously wants no prying eyes.
This excellent article by @SimonAllison has more details and expert views on the story
Compiled by @PeterDoerrie
This week's editorial team: @PeterDoerrie, @jamesjwan