Freedom of Expression Online
Despite the new batch of laws to regulate
the media sector and the creation of the
Media Regulatory Authority (Entidade
Reguladora da Comunicação Social)
with powers to monitor web content,
and taking into account the holding of
general elections, there are no records
of any action on the part of government against any user, no websites were
blocked and no-one was asked to take
down content.

Looking Forward to 2018
The next few months will be telling for
the long-term prospects of the new president, with some saying that he is going
too far, others that he dare not go too
far. As it is, in November 2017 – three
months after taking over the reins – João
Lourenço relieved Isabel dos Santos,
daughter of the former president, as
head of Sonangol. On the same day,
João Lourenço cancelled the contracts
between the public broadcaster and
the privately-owned firms Westside and
Semba Comunicações, belonging to
Tchizé and José Paulino dos Santos, also
children of the former president, which
in practice ran the broadcaster’s TPA2
and TPA International channels.
Public media journalists welcomed
the news and the return to being managed by career journalists. Later in the
month, Filomeno dos Santos, head of
the Sovereign Fund, was removed from
direct control of the Fund and made to
report to the Secretary of State for the
Budget and Public Investment, who in
turn reports to the Minister of Finances.
The Sovereign Fund is estimated at $5
billion and accusations of irregularities
Still in November, João Lourenço appointed new boards and directors to

all public media houses (national radio and television broadcasters, news
agency and national daily newspaper).
He stated on the occasion that only with
freedom of expression and press freedom could the country move towards
a true democracy, in as much as these
are rights that are enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Angola, and
which must be upheld by all. He said
the media should allow more space for
the voice of the public. This echoed the
sentiments expressed by the new Minister of Social Communication (Media),
João Melo, who in October defended
that for the sake of credibility, public
media outlets needed to practice balanced, pluralist, diversified, pragmatic
and contextualised journalism and not
a journalism that was bureaucratic and
In a clear sign of change, the new head
of Jornal de Angola, Victor Silva, in his
first editorial for the paper, and referring
to the removal of Isabel dos Santos as
head of Sonangol, said that the changes
taking place in the new political cycle
were what had been promised during
the electoral campaign. The changes
would be founded on a society that regained its moral compass, with a serious
fight against corruption and other practices detrimental to the public interest,
to ensure the end of impunity and the
opening of opportunities for all. Silva
added that changes were almost always
aimed at bringing in new dynamics and
should not be seen as mere substitutions
of faces and names. Concerning Isabel
dos Santos’s exit from Sonangol, he stated that as a politically exposed person
(PEP), she was an obstacle to development; during her tenure, the company’s
indebtedness had worsened and there
had been complications in terms of relations with foreign operators as Sonangol
was struggling to secure financing.

So This is Democracy? 2017


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