The expulsion of Tom Bowker by the Mozambican government is an unashamed attempt to silence the media and restrict the right to freedom of expression in that country, said the Southern African Editors Forum (SAEF).
“The deportation of Bowker, who is editor of Zitamar, comes at a time when journalists and media workers in Mozambique continue to be arrested, detained, abducted or assaulted while conducting their lawful professional duties of providing trusted information on pertinent socio-economic and political issues,” the organisation said in a statement.
According to his Twitter page, Bowker left Mozambique on Tuesday.
“Right, that’s it then! Expelled from Mozambique and banned for 10 years. A politically motivated move, without legal foundation. Thanks to everyone who helped us fight it, and who made the last 6 years so wonderful. Até!,” he tweeted.
Bowker, a British national, is credited for widely covering the civil war in Cabo Delgado and exposing the looting of national resources by the elite class in that country. He was deported along with his partner and journalist, Leigh Elston and their two children.
“According to Bowker, he was expelled for allegedly having been receiving accreditation as a foreign correspondent on false pretence for the past five years as he failed to prove that his news agency was legally registered in the United Kingdom. There is no press registration in the United Kingdom, and anyone can publish,” SAEF said.
The editors called on government to reconsider its decision and allow Bowker back into the country.