MISA PROTESTS DRAFT MEDIA LAW
In a submission to Angolaâs Minister of Social Communication, MISA welcomed some articles of the draft law, but was strongly critical overall. MISA expressed concern that the law would have the effect of âcriminalising the activities of media workers and expression in generalâ, and it criticised the âvague and unacceptableâ provisions allowing authorities to declare virtually any information in their possession or emanating from them as âsecretâ. The lack of a clear means to define harm resulting from the publication or dissemination of information is, in MISAâs view, âcalculated to instil fear in citizens, and further curb speech and the free flow of information, amidst the looming threat of criminal prosecution.â Among other concerns, the organisation is also troubled by provisions allowing the state to seize publications.
MISA notes that current conditions in Angola include âa de facto civil war, a high degree of poverty, destabilisation of communities and the destruction through war and conflict of communal centres and habitats.â Rather than seeing these conditions as excuses for limits on free expression, MISA âconsiders it crucial for freedom of expression to enjoy a high degree of protection in contexts such as these.â Its recommendations include promotion of pluralistic media by relinquishing government control over television broadcasting and a large part of radio broadcasting. MISA calls on the government to refrain from passing the law as it stands, consider its proposed amendments, and allow for greater input from Angolan civil society and media stakeholders in drafting a new law. [Updates IFEX âCommuniqueâ #9-37 and #9-30.]">http://communique.ifex.org/articles.cfm?category=2%20Updates&volume=9&issue_no=37&lng=english#2306">#9-37 and #9-30.]