Angola urged to repeal 'oppressive' criminal defamation lawsBy ARNALDO VIEIRA in Luanda | Tuesday, August 13 2013 at 11:28
Angola has been urged to drop all criminal defamation charges against respected investigative journalist Rafael Marques de Morais.
Pressure group Human Rights Watch Monday said the southern African country uses the strict laws to undermine free expression rights and urged their repeal.
Marques has exposed a range of high-level corruption cases and human rights violations in his blog, and pursued sensitive investigations into human rights violations in Angola’s diamond areas.
For this, Mr Morais is facing multiple charges related to his work.
"The 11 lawsuits brought against Marques – Angola’s most prominent investigative journalist, human rights defender, and anti-corruption campaigner – are the latest attempt by Angolan officials to silence his reporting," Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
"Angola has found its criminal defamation laws very useful to try to squelch reports about corruption and human rights violations," said the HRW official.
"Angola should be investigating these reports of serious human rights violations instead of trying to silence the bearers of bad news."
Mr Morais has received several international awards for his reporting on conflict diamonds and government corruption.
He currently heads the anti-corruption watchdog Maka Angola.
He started work as a journalist in 1992 at the state-owned newspaper Jornal de Angola.
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