We have just heard that Mozambican journalist Estacio Valoi and 2 foreign journalists have been detained in Palma, Cabo Delgado province, northern Mozambique. This happened on the morning on 17 December 2018, by the Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique (Defense Forces of Mozambique). The journalists had permission from the local and provincial authorities to do their reporting work, yet they were stopped. Their cameras were taken away.
We, Justiça Ambiental, as a Mozambican civil society organisation cannot accept this abuse of freedom of press. We citizens have the right of movement in our country and the right to observe and report what is going on in our country, especially human rights violations and other injustices. If journalists and civil society do not have freedom to investigate and monitor, and are suppressed by the state and the army, then the truth will be constantly suppressed. This is not acceptable.
Palma is the place where the Mozambican government and corporations are in the process of extracting gas. This is affecting the lives and livelihoods of the communities in the area, this is affecting the biodiversity and it will most certainly worsen the climate crisis. It is already having negative impacts and journalists and civil society have a right to monitor the situation. Without this overview, the situation in Cabo Delgado could turn into a humanitarian crisis.
We say no to the state and military trying to block the truth from coming out. We demand a recognition of the impacts and injustices already occurring in the area due to impending gas extraction. We demand the release of these journalists! We further demand the right of journalists and civil society to monitor the impacts and for the impacts to be addressed and corrected. We denounce the collusion of the State with the forces of private capital, which results in corporate impunity and the further deterioration of the lives of the majority of Mozambicans.
A luta continua!