Media Reform: Lusaka Protocol

ANNEX 6: AGENDA ITEM II.4: NATIONAL RECONCILIATION:

II. Specific Principles:

2. Within the framework of National Reconciliation, the security of citizens, without distinction, the freedoms of speech, professional association and organization of unions, as well as press freedom, provided for and enshrined respectively in Articles 32, 33 and 35 of the Constitutional Law, are guaranteed in accordance with the legislation in force, the Lusaka Protocol and the universal principles of the rule of law.

3. Given the importance of the mass media sector for improving the climate of tolerance and mutual trust necessary for National Reconciliation, the right of access to State Press, Radio and Television is guaranteed to political parties provided the legislation in force, the Lusaka Protocol and the universal principles of the rule of law are complied with.

4. VORGAN, UNITA's shortwave radio station, in the interests of National Reconciliation, shall continue, exceptionally, to broadcast in the context of the awareness campaign referred to in paragraph 1 of the Specific Principles, until D-Day + 9 months. By that date and in accordance with the relevant legislation in force (Laws 22/91 of 15 June and 9/92 of 16 April), the process of transformation of the status of VORGAN into a nonpartisan radio station broadcasting on the appropriate frequencies allocated to it shall have been completed.

Implementation History

1994

No Implementation

There were no major developments in 1994 concerning media reform. 

1995

No Implementation

Although the Lusaka Accord and Angola's constitution guaranteed freedom of expression and of the press, the Government violated these laws in practice. In January 1995, the editor of the Luanda-based newspaper Imparcial Fax Ricardo de Mello was shot on the stairs of his home. His wife said that he had recently been threatened by military agents of the MPLA to stop criticizing the Government’s handling of the war. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), “De Mello was killed at the height of his publication's unprecedented coverage of high-level government corruption” (1995). A group of men attempted to abduct Mariano Costa, a reporter, demanding to see his identification, but he was able to flee. Another reporter, Mario Paiva, a writer for Reuters, was told he would be shot by an agent of the Angolan Home Affairs Information Department (SINSO). Paiva stated that his home was under surveillance by SINSO agents.1

UNITA continued to broadcast on its illegal station “Vorgan”. No announcements regarding media reforms were made and no evidence of the initiation of reforms was found. In February 1995, UNITA held its 8th ordinary congress in Bailundo, Huambo Province with 1,230 delegates from every province in Angola. The UNITA congress adopted 21 resolutions dealing with the peace process and future plans. Number 13 dealt with the freedom of the press and media: “The eighth congress demands the institutionalization of a free and exempt press. The eighth congress condemns the intimidation and assassination of journalists as is the case of the late Ricardo de Mello. Without a free press there is no democracy.”2

  • 1. "Attacks on the Press: Angola 1995," Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
  • 2. “Eighth UNITA Congress's 21-Point Resolution," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, February 14, 1995.
1996

No Implementation

Antonio Casemero, a reporter in Cabinda for Televisao Popular de Angola, was harassed by police in early October. On 30 October, he was shot and killed by 4 gunmen in his home in Cabinda.3 

No broad media reforms were reported in the country and no progress had taken place regarding turning UNITA’s radio station “Vorgan” into a legal radio channel. It continued to be used by UNITA as a propaganda outlet and neither side had initiated any change. The United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) reported that, “In order to fulfill the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol regarding the transformation of Vorgan into a non-partisan radio station, UNITA has pledged to complete the necessary legal and administrative formalities by presenting the pertinent documents to the Government.”4

  • 3. "Antonio Casemero,” Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
  • 4. “Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III),” U.N. Security Council (S/1996/827), October 4, 1996.
1997

Minimum Implementation

The one radio program believed to be the most unbiased in Angola was banned in 1997 from broadcasting certain content. “In April, the privately owned FM station Radio 2000 in Lubango was banned by the government from broadcasting the Voice of America’s Portugal-to-Africa program, Angola: Linha Directa, Linha Aberta. Radio 2000 was the only station inside Angola carrying this programming, and was believed by many Angolans to be the most informative and unbiased source of information. This action, taken after the implementation of the new unity government, directly contradicted the government’s professed commitment to democracy and freedom of expression.”5 

The Vorgan radio program remained unchanged. UNAVEM reported that “The long-standing issue of the transformation of the UNITA radio station into a non-partisan broadcasting facility has not yet been fully resolved. Although agreement has been reached on the name and other particulars of the station, the question of the allocation of frequencies is still under discussion.”6 

After submitting an application for a shortwave radio license, UNITA was allocated one frequency in Luanda. In October, UNITA requested additional frequencies in other cities. With the imposition of sanctions, UNITA continued to broadcast anti-Government and anti-United Nations propaganda.7

  • 5. "Attacks on the Press 1997: Angola,” Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
  • 6. “Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III),” U.N. Security Council (S/1997/438), June 5, 1997.
  • 7. “Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA),” U.N. Security Council (S/1997/959), December 4,  1997.
1998

Minimum Implementation

Although Angola's constitution guaranteed freedom of expression and the press, the government violated these laws in practice. In February, the Luanda-based independent weekly Agora was set on fire and burned by arsonists. Simao Roberto, a reporter for Jornal de Angola, was shot and killed on 5 June 1998. The Committee to Protect Journalists considered Angola “one of the most dangerous for journalists, and one where those who use violence to silence the press do so with impunity.”8

The Uppsala Conflict Data Program coded the conflict between the Angolan government and UNITA as reaching the threshold of “war” in 1998 with over 1000 total deaths in the year. Coding for this case stops December 31, 1998.

  • 8. "Attacks on the Press 1998: Angola,” Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).