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Key findings
  • More than half (52%) of Mozambicans say the media should “constantly investigate and report on government mistakes and corruption.”
  • But fewer than half (44%) insist on media freedom, while 51% say the government should have the right to prevent the publication of things it disapproves of.
  • Majorities support the proposition that specific types of information should be made publicly available, including information regarding budgets and expenditures for local government councils (51%), the salaries of teachers and local government officials (52%), and bids and contracts for government-funded projects or purchases (67%).
  • More than half (53%) of citizens say the country’s media is in fact “somewhat free” (33%) or “completely free” (20%) to report and comment on the news without government interference, but 41% disagree with that assessment.
  • Radio is the most popular source of news in Mozambique, used at least “a few times a week” by 53% of citizens. o Television (44%), social media (26%), and the Internet (25%) beat out newspapers (15%) as regular news sources.

On 14 December 2023, influential Mozambican journalist, editor, and political commentator João Fernando Chamusse was killed outside his home in KaTembe, in Maputo province,  apparently with a machete or gardening hoe (Africanews, 2023; UNESCO, 2023). 

On 7 April 2020, Ibraimo Abú Mbaruco, a reporter for Palma Community Radio in the Cabo  Delgado province, disappeared on his way home from work. His last text message to a  colleague read “Surrounded by soldiers,” fuelling allegations that he was abducted by the  military (Human Rights Watch, 2020; Club of Mozambique, 2022). 

More recently, other journalists have been harassed by the police, including Sheila Wilson, who was arrested while covering a demonstration in the capital (Amnesty International, 2024;  Committee to Protect Journalists, 2024).  

Article 48 of Mozambique’s Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and information,  noting that “freedom of the press shall include … the freedom of journalistic expression and  creativity, access to sources of information, [and] protection of independence and  professional secrecy” (Republic of Mozambique, 1990). This constitutional provision is  supplemented by a Freedom of Information Act (2014) and a Press Law (1991) that states, “The right to information means the right of every citizen to inform and be informed of  relevant facts and opinions about the national and international levels as well as the right of  every citizen to disseminate information, opinions and ideas through the press” (PPLAAF,  2021). 

Despite these legal decrees, Mozambique’s media landscape has been marked by  persistent attacks on the safety and lives of journalists (African Media Barometer, 2018). Journalists have been abducted, arrested, tortured, criminally charged, and sometimes killed for covering politically sensitive matters, which deeply compromises media freedom (Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung, 2021). With an ongoing insurgency in the North, journalists struggle to  cover the region at all, threatened by both harassment by authorities and attacks by  terrorists (International Media Support, 2023), and observers worry about the media’s ability  to do its job as the country approaches presidential and legislative elections in October  (Africa Center for Strategic Studies, 2024). 

Mozambique is rated “partly free” by Freedom House (2024) and ranks 105th (out of 180  countries) in the World Press Freedom Index (Reporters Without Borders, 2024).  

How do ordinary Mozambicans view media freedom and the role of the press? 

The most recent Afrobarometer survey suggests that Mozambicans are quite divided in their  attitudes toward the media. Only a slim majority think their country’s media is free, and fewer than half insist on the principle of press freedom. 

But more than half of those interviewed say that the media should act as a watchdog over  the government and that specific types of information should be made publicly available, including local government budgets, the salaries of teachers and local government officials,  and bids and contracts for government-funded projects or purchases.  

Radio is the most popular news source in Mozambique, but television, social media, and the Internet are favoured, too – especially by city residents and more educated citizens.

Asafika Mpako

Asafika is the communications coordinator for Southern Africa

Stephen Ndoma

Stephen is the assistant project manager for Southern Africa