Mass Media

Mass Media

The government nationalized all print and broadcast media in 1976, and as of late 1988 the government and party still controlled almost all the news media. Angola's official news agency, Angop, distributed about 8,000 issues of the government newsletter, Diário de República, and 40,000 copies of Jornal de Angola daily in Luanda and other urban areas under FAPLA control. Both publications were in Portuguese. International press operations in Luanda included Agence France-Presse, Cuba's Prensa Latina, Xinhua (New China) News Agency, and several Soviet and East European agency offices.

Under the scrutiny of the MPLA-PT, the media were limited to disseminating official policy without critical comment or opposing viewpoints. The Angolan Journalists' Union, which proclaimed the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Constitution, nonetheless worked closely with the MPLA-PT and pressured writers to adhere to government guidelines. Views differing slightly from official perceptions were published in the UNTA monthly newsletter, O Voz do Trabalhador, despite active censorship.

Rádio Nacional de Angola was the largest of eighteen mediumwave and short-wave stations operating throughout the country. Radio broadcasts were in Portuguese and vernacular languages, and there were an estimated 435,000 receivers in 1988. In the late 1980s, people in central and southern Angola also received opposition radio broadcasts from the Voice of Resistance of the Black Cockerel, operated by UNITA in Portuguese, English, and local vernaculars. Limited television service in Portuguese became available in Luanda and surrounding areas in 1976, but by 1988 there were only about 40,500 television sets in the country.

Angop maintained a cooperative relationship with the Soviet news agency, TASS, and Angola was active in international efforts to improve coordination among nonaligned nations in the field of communications. Information ministers and news agency representatives from several Third World nations were scheduled to hold their fifth conference in Luanda in June 1989--their first meeting since 1985, when they met in Havana. The Angop delegation was to serve as host of the 1989 conference, and Angolan information officials in the government and party were to chair the organization from 1989 to 1992.

Angola was also a leader among Portuguese-speaking nations of Africa. Students from these nations attended the Interstate Journalism School in Luanda, which opened May 23, 1987, with support from the Yugoslav news agency, Tanyug. In September 1987, journalists from these five Lusophone nations held their third conference in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. A major goal of this group was to coordinate cultural development based on their common language, but an important secondary goal was to demonstrate support for Angola in its confrontation with South Africa. By 1990 they hoped to celebrate the Pan-African News Agency's opening of a Portuguese desk in Luanda.

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