Mozambique: Journalist Threatened

Maputo — A reporter on the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique", Marta Afonso, has received repeated threats arising from an investigation she has been undertaking into alleged mismanagement at the Mozambican Higher Institute of Accounting and Auditing (ISCAM).

The paper received a documented denunciation of this mismanagement a fortnight ago, and the "Carta de Mocambique" management gave Marta Afonso the task of following the story up. She was asked to see if the allegations were true, gather evidence and interview those accused.

She has been doing this, says Thursday's issue of the paper, but has come under pressure not to publish anything. One of the ISCAM staff members accused has tried, on several occasions, to dissuade her from publishing her findings.

On Tuesday, a journalist from another Maputo publication approached her with the same request - not to give any prominence to the story. To this pressure, she gave the same response, namely that she does not take editorial decisions.

On Wednesday, she began to receive anonymous phone calls from two women. One told her that, before publishing the story, she should think of what she wanted from her profession. The second wanted Marta to meet with her on Thursday morning: if she did not, she would regret it.

But Marta went to her superiors on the paper and the "Carta de Mocambique" editorial board decided to denounce publicly these threats and report them to the Attorney-General's Office. It also decided to publish the ISCAM story, once the editorial procedure is complete "giving it due prominence".

The paper concludes with "a message to those who want to interfere in our work: "Carta" is a paper without fear and does not submit to pressure of this or any other kind. The person ultimately responsible for its journalism is not any of its reporters, but its director, Marcelo Mosse".

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