The Tanzanian government has banned Mawio, a weekly newspaper, from publication for two years after it linked former presidents Benjamin Mkapa and Jakaya Kikwete with the mineral concentrates dispute.
The Information minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe imposed the 24-month ban through a statement released to the media by the Director of Information services Dr Hassan Abbasi on Thursday evening.
Dr Abbasi said the ban starts immediately.
Mawio’s Wednesday edition carried the photographs of the former presidents on its front page with a story detailing the two leaders’ role in the problems bedevilling the mining sector in Tanzania since the 1990s and early 2000s.
“I have been left with no other option than to use powers conferred to me by the Information Services Act to impose a ban on Mawio from publication for the next 24 months,” read part of the letter from the minister to Mawio editor.
Online edition banned
Apart from printing, the newspaper will also not be allowed to run its digital version or on its social media platforms.
Mawio was accused of ignoring a government directive on reporting of the former presidents.
On Wednesday, President John Magufuli warned the media against linking Mkapa and Kikwete to the government minerals dispute with mining giant Acacia.
He issued the warning after he held talks with Barrick Gold chairman Prof John Thornton at the State House Dar es Salaam on Wednesday. Barrick Gold has a controlling stake in Acacia Mining.
“Media should stop tarnishing their reputation. They have done a great work in serving this country. We should let them rest,” the president said.
Mawio had in January 2016 been barred indefinitely from circulation after publishing stories on the Zanzibar crisis but a court ruling revoked the ban in March the same year.
Tanzanian lawmakers have been reported by various newspapers calling for Mkapa and Kikwete to be investigated over the mining contracts signed during their administrations.