Angolan president wants stricter social media laws

Critics accuse Jose Eduardo dos Santos, pictured here on August 2009, in Luanda, of overseeing corruption, misrule, arbitrary arrests and intimidation (AFP Photo/Stephane de Sakutin) (AFP/File)

Luanda (AFP) - Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos called on Friday for stricter regulation of social media, at a time when the government is cracking down on political dissident and activism.

Speaking in a rare television address Dos Santos, who has ruled Angola since 1979, said "social networks should not be used to violate other people's rights, humiliate, slander or convey degrading or morally offensive content."

He added that "the country must adopt as soon as possible adequate legislation" to regulate unacceptable social media practices.

Angola has in recent months seen an increase political arrests with 17 activists facing trial for "rebellion and coup attempt".

Supporters have used social media to follow their trial, due to the irregular media coverage of the court proceedings.

Last month another group of 12 activists were freed after being arrested during a protest march demanding dos Santos's resignation.

In his speech, dos Santos said Angola, which is Africa's second biggest oil producer, was going through a "difficult period" due to "declining revenue caused by falling oil prices".

Despite the country's oil and diamond resources, Angola still suffers endemic poverty, with more than a third of the country's population of around 24 million people living below the poverty line, according to the United Nations Development Programme.

Critics accuse dos Santos of overseeing corruption, misrule, arbitrary arrests and intimidation.