Angolan editor to appear in court for hearing on libel charge

Angolan journalist Francisco Rasgado will appear in trial court today to face charges of libel alleged by Angolan Secretary of

Photo: Rosario Borrego

Angolan journalist Francisco Rasgado will appear in trial court today to face charges of libel alleged by Angolan Secretary of Information Rui Falcao.

Rasgado was charged after posts on the Facebook page of Chela Press, his privately owned newspaper, claimed that Falcao had engaged in corruption. Rasgado contends that Falcao—a former governor of Angola’s southern Benguela province—misappropriated funds from an independent $2 billion aid package meant for the development of a thermal power station.

Angola currently ranks high on many global corruption indices. Use of defamation suits is one of the key ways in which Angolan officials silence reporters and control the public narrative. Rasgado is just the most recent of several journalists who were arrested after reporting on alleged corruption.

Whether indicted or not, Rasgado has raised a flag on corruption that the Angolan government is not likely to ignore. Angola has an enormous amount of IMF debt, and as part of the debt agreement it is tasked with combatting corruption. If Rasgado is indicted today without proper due diligence on his claims, it would indicate that Angola is insincere in its fight against corruption, which may jeopardize further IMF aid.

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