Press Freedom: Veteran Mozambican Journalist Gunned Down In Cold Blood

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

Veteran Mozambican journalist, Paulo Machava, Known for crime reporting, was shot dead  on Friday while out jogging in the country’s capital Maputo.

“We don’t know the motives for the killing but we will work hard to trace the killers,” police spokesman Orlando Modumane told The Associated Press on Saturday.

According to eye witnesses, Machava, 50, the editor of the daily electronic newssheet “Diario de Noticias”, was shot four times in the early hours of the Friday morning by young-looking assailants driving a white pickup truck and acted very quickly.

Machava was in recent months involved in a campaign supporting an economist, Nuno Castel-Branco, and two reporters – Fernando Veloso and Fernando Banze – who are facing national security and defamation charges.

He at one point in his long reporting career hosted a show covering crime on the state-run Radio Mozambique.

He also reported for a weekly newspaper, covering the assassination of well-known journalist Carlos Cardoso in 2000. He published a series of reports on the man who was later found guilty of ordering Cardoso’s killing, The Associated Press reported.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said Machava’s murder had caused a wave of indignation among media professionals” and created “a climate of fear, compromising press freedom.”

The regional body urged the authorities to do everything necessary to ascertain the circumstances under which Machava had been murdered, and to apprehend the killers and bring them to justice.

In March, a naturalized Mozambican citizen of French origin and a constitutional law expert, Gilles Cistac, who was highly critical of the government was executed in a similar style, AFP reported.