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Mozambique27 March 2009

Provincial governor makes death threats against journalist

Reporters Without Borders has voiced its deep concern after a provincial governor made public death threats against Bernardo Carlos, a journalist on the daily Noticias.

Ildefonso Muananthatha, Governor of Tete in the centre-west of the country, warned the journalist he could suffer the same fate as his colleague Carlos Cardoso, the newspaper editor who was murdered in 2000.

Bernardo Carlos went to the district of Magoé with several journalists from Mozambique Public Television (TVM), Radio Mozambique (RM) and the daily Diario de Moçambique on 16 March to cover a meeting held by Governor Muananthatha.

During his speech the governor said, “Truth has a price”. Turning to Bernardo Carlos he added, “Do you know what happened to the journalist Carlos Cardoso ? Don’t be surprised if one day you wake up without the arm you used to humiliate me”. He made a second threat against the journalist the following day.

The threats followed a series of articles written by Carlos about the administration of public appointments and municipal services, particularly about the state of the electricity network and the aftermath of flooding in Tete province two years earlier that left large numbers of people homeless.

“We strongly condemn the shocking remarks made by Governor Muananthatha”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “The reference to Carlos Cardoso is offensive because the tragedy of his murder is etched into the memory of all Mozambican journalists. We urge the authorities to take these threats very seriously and do everything possible to guarantee the journalist’s safety”, it added.

Carlos Cardoso, editor of Metical, was murdered on Martires de Machava Avenue in Maputo on 22 November 2000. He was being driven by his chauffeur when two men blocked their path and opened fire. Carlos Cardoso who was hit by several bullets died instantly and his driver was left badly injured. Before his death, Cardoso, was investigating the disappearance of a sum equivalent to several million euros from the Commercial Bank of Mozambique. He had pointed the finger at three Mozambican businessmen, the Satar brothers and Vicente Ramaya.

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