Mozambique deports journalist in unclear circumstances

Mozambique deports journalist in unclear circumstances

Mozambican authorities on 16 February 2021 deported British journalist Tom Bowker whom they accused of violating the country’s immigration laws.

Mozambican authorities withdrew Bowker’s accreditation as a journalist before he was expelled.

Bowker, the co-founder and editor of the privately-owned ZitamarNews website, was also banned from re-entering Mozambique for 10 years.

According to the VOA website, Bowker, among other issues, reported on the insurgency in Cabo Delgado and corruption involving figures linked to the Mozambican government. His news portal also reported on the economy, politics, and the human rights situation.

Such stories may have angered authorities, who soon began investigating Bowker.

They alleged that he did not have proper documentation for his website.

In January, Bowker was told to leave the country, with immigration authorities only issuing a written directive, and then verbally in early February.

Bowker who has been working in Mozambique for six years, described his expulsion as a“politically motivated move, without legal foundation”.

MISA Zimbabwe position

The decision to expel Bowker is an assault on freedom of expression and we urge Mozambican authorities to reconsider their decision.

Bowker’s expulsion is chilling, as it sends a message that investigative journalism is frowned upon and that journalists serve at the mercy of the authorities.

There have been a number of media violations in Mozambique in the recent past and MISA Zimbabwe is worried that the country continues to slide in terms of the press freedom indices.

We urge the Mozambican authorities to uphold the rights of freedom of expression and of the media by allowing journalists to conduct their jobs unfettered.

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.