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Angola cuts two news channels in revenge for critical documentary

angolaReporters Without Borders has condemned the arbitrary suspension by the Angolan operator, ZAP, of two Portuguese news channels. The company is controlled by the president's daughter, Isabel dos Santos.

Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), has denounced the suspension of SIC Notícias and SIC Internacional from the ZAP satellite package serving Angola and said it is concerned about the repression of freedom of information in the country, just five months before the general election.

On Tuesday, March 14, the two Portuguese channels were stripped from a satellite channel package, with the company's management saying this was “a simple reformulation of the programme grid."

According to RSF, this decision was taken after the broadcast of an investigation into a 2014 financial scandal involving Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos, whose vice-like grip on national and local media is legendary.

In November 2016,  SIC transmitted the report "Angola, a rich country with 20 million poor," which was highly critical of José Eduardo dos Santos who has been running the country for 37 years, largely for his own benefit while the majority of his citizens live in abject poverty.

The president, probably coincidently, declared shortly after the programme was aired, that he would not be a candidate for the presidential election scheduled for August 2017, selecting General João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, Angola’s former defence minister.

“National media, whether public or private, is totally controlled by the family or people close to President Eduardo dos Santos. Excluding some weak opposition media, the only space for free information is on the Internet, thanks to a number of websites and social networks. However, these digital spaces also are under pressure,” commented RSF.

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