Carlos Cardoso Memorial Lecture 2020
To be delivered by Mduduzi Mathuthu, Samira Saoub, Lina Attalah, and Matias Guent.
Four African countries where journalists and journalism are under attack will be the focus of this year’s Carlos Cardosa Memorial Lecture – held in partnership with the Committee for the Protection of Journalists. The online event will feature Mduduzi Mathuthu from Zimbabwe, editor of ZimLives, Samira Saoub from Niger, who recently came out of detention, Lina Attalah of Egypt, editor-in-chief of Mada Masr, and Matias Guent, editor of Canal de Mocambique. The lecture remembers a prominent Mozambican journalist who was assassinated while investigating corruption.
Mduduzi Mathuthu is the founder and editor of the ZimLive news website. His two-decade career began at The Daily News in Zimbabwe, which was bombed and shut down by the government. Mathuthu left for the United Kingdom where he studied journalism and law. He founded and edited the NewZimbabwe.com news website – the first original news online publication for Zimbabwe – in 2003. He returned to Zimbabwe in 2013 as editor of The Chronicle newspaper in his hometown of Bulawayo, but was removed after two years for running a story critical of then Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s attempts to deny his role in the post-independence Gukurahundi massacres. Mathuthu was transferred to Namibia to become editor of the regional weekly, The Southern Times, which he left in 2017 to set up ZimLive. Mathuthu’s investigative work with ZimLive to expose Covid-19 procurement corruption led to the government cancelling US$60 million worth of tenders awarded to a friend of President Mnangagwa’s family, and the arrest and sacking of the health minister.
Matias Guente & Canal de Mozambique have faced official harassment and intimidation in recent years.
Unidentified assailants beat Guente and attempted to kidnap him on New Year’s Eve and he is also under investigation for allegedly contravening state secrets for publishing information about a security contract between the government and a multinational oil consortium in Mozambique’s restive Cabo Delgado province.
On August 23, unidentified individuals broke into the office of Canal de Mocambique, poured petrol on the furniture and equipment, and set it ablaze, destroying the newsroom, furniture, equipment, and the paper’s archives.
Matias and the Canal team refused to be cowed and managed to publish the weekly edition of the newspaper after setting up a makeshift newsroom on the pavement outside the office.
Lina Attalah is a journalist, whose work has appeared in both Egyptian and international press outlets. She is the co-founder and publisher of Mada Masr, a Cairo-based news website. Before that, she was the chief editor of Egypt Independent, a flagship media voice in Egypt. In 2005, she worked in Darfur, Sudan to cover the conflict there for the BBC World Service Trust. Throughout the past six years, she has gone on assignment to cover the armed revolution in Syria in 2011 for Egypt Independent and the presidential elections in Iran in 2013 for The Guardian.
Samira Sabou is the editor of Niger Search and manager of Mides-Niger news websites, was arrested on June 10, after she responded to a court summons. The summons was issued in response to a defamation complaint filed by Sani Mahamadou Issoufou, the son and deputy chief of staff of Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou.
Sabou had commented on an audit of contracts for the purchase of military material within the defence ministry and its alleged irregularities. She was charged with “defamation by a means of electronic communication” under article 29 of Niger’s cybercrime law.
Sabou was placed in pre-trial detention and was only released after 48 days behind bars after a high court ruled an offence had not been established and acquitted her.