from ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) – MEDIA rights groups have condemned the closure of some newspapers by the Tzanzanian government in recent weeks.
The Raia Mwema is the latest publication to be suspended.
The government of President Samia Suluhu Hassan has slapped it with a one-month ban for allegedly violating professional journalism standards through misleading reporting and incitement.
This is contrary to pledges by Hassan when she took office in March.
She previously ordered the reversals of some media bans, and officials in her government made statements committing to improve conditions for journalists.
However, last month her government also suspended Uhuru, a newspaper owned by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party, for two weeks for allegedly misquoting Hassan.
“Promises by Tanzania’s government to improve the country’s press freedom climate will continue to ring hollow if authorities keep up the trend of taking newspapers off the streets on the flimsiest pretexts,” said Muthoki Mumo, Saharan Africa representative at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Mumo said Tanzanian authorities should immediately rescind the suspension of the Raia Mwema newspaper and cease banning media outlets.
Raia Mwema editor, Joseph Kulangwa, denied government’s allegations but said the newspaper would comply with the order and not file an appeal.
In 2019, the East African Court of Justice ruled that Tanzania’s Media Services Act was inimical to press freedom.
The government of then-president, John Magufuli (now late), used it to close some publications.
– CAJ News