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Joao CG Pereira Reports on the Worrying State of the Press in Mozambique

Against All OddsThe Mail & Guardian has published an edited extract of the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa report on the 2014 General Elections in Mozambique: Analysis of Fundamental Questions, by João CG Pereira and Ernesto Nhanale.

Pereira contributed to Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, a volume edited by Hussein Solomon.

In their Open Society Initiative report, Pereira and Nhanale say there is a “polarisation of the media space” in Mozambique, whereby most national media favour the ruling party, Frelimo, while the private media “root largely for the opposition parties”.

As in other countries with a weak press, the highly politicised media in Mozambique is used as a space for political disputes.

This scenario has led to polarisation of the media space, with some, particularly the publicly owned papers, tending to report only on government achievements and offering a positive image of the main actors in the Frelimo government.

On the other hand, many of the privately owned papers report corruption scandals and abuses of power, exercising their function as a watchdog and giving more space to opposition parties and activists from civic society organisations.

Because the press is weak in Mozambique, the electronic media (radio, television and the social networks) play a significant role in transmitting information.

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