22 November 2000

Carlos Cardoso murdered

One of Mozambique's most prominent journalists, Carlos Cardoso, has been shot dead in central Maputo. Cardoso, editor of the independent daily newsheet "Metical", was ambushed in his car, and gunned down by unknown assailants at about 17.40 on Wednesday near his office.

A crew from Mozambican Television (TVM) was quickly on the scene, and Wednesday night's main TV news began with the shocking images of Cardoso's bullet-ridden body being removed from the car by the police.

In the first government reaction to the murder, Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi told TVM that he was "deeply shocked" and "profoundly affected". He praised Cardoso as "a journalist who has fought tirelessly for freedom of the press".

Cardoso was the former director of AIM from 1980 to 1989. After a brief rest from journalism, during which he experimented as an artist, Cardoso founded the first independent daily in the country, "Mediafax", which was distributed to subscribers by fax. Following a dispute inside the Mediacoop journalists' cooperative that owned "Mediafax", in the late 1990s, Cardoso left and set up a new paper "Metical". Under his editorship, both "Mediafax" and "Metical" were noted for the high quality of their economic reporting.

His death deprives Mozambican journalism of a courageous and outspoken voice. In the 1980s, at AIM, Cardoso campaigned tireless against the apartheid regime's destabilisation of Mozambique. In the 1990s, his was an eloquent voice against World Bank and IMF policies. He was particularly identified with the campaign to defend the Mozambican cashew processing industry, devastated by the World Bank's policy of liberalising the trade in raw cashews.

So far there are no clues as to the identity of the assassins - but the exposures carried in "Metical" may well have earned Cardoso enemies in powerful spheres of the illegal economy. - He leaves a widow and two children. (AIM)


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