Mozambique's rocketing media fees provoke outcry

Mozambique on Wednesday imposed vastly increased media accreditation fees, triggering criticism from rights groups who described the policy as an attempt to quash scrutiny and criticism.

Foreign correspondents based in Mozambique must now pay $8 600 a year, while visiting journalists must pay $1 700 per trip.

Similar fees were approved for the local press. Local reporters working for foreign media must pay $2 500. To start a television station will cost $51 700 and to start a new radio station will cost $34 400.

Human Rights Watch described the new fees as "a huge setback for press freedom and access to information in Mozambique".

Amnesty said they were a "blatant attempt to clamp down on journalists".

The increases come two months before municipal elections when Renamo, the main opposition party, will seek to win control of some cities for the first time in 15 years.

Ernesto Nhanale, president of MISA Mozambique press rights group, said that the fees were "unconstitutional and illegal" and called for them to be scrapped.

The government has suggested it could review the increases, but did not stop them being introduced on Wednesday.

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