Tanzania bans Mseto newspaper for three years

Thursday August 11 2016

Tanzania's Minister for Information Nape Nnauye. The Tanzanian government has banned a weekly local newspaper Mseto for three years on grounds that it breached the Newspapers Act. PHOTOS | FILE

The Tanzanian government has banned a weekly local newspaper Mseto for three yearson grounds that it breached the Newspapers Act.

Mr Nape Nnauye, the Minister for Information, said the newspaper had published a story that claimed the deputy minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Eng Edwin Ngonyani, had implicated President John Magufuli in corruption during elections.

Mr Nnauye said the newspaper had tampered with a document from State Mining Corporation to justify the story and when asked to produce the original document, failed to do so.

He said that the newspaper has had a "tendency of reporting irresponsibly" and has been "warned several times for the last five years."

“The newspaper was cautioned to stop publishing false, misleading and seditious stories. Severally, they were reminded to follow the journalism professional ethics,” he said.

The 1976 Newspapers Act section 25 (1) states that, “Where the Minister is of the opinion that it is in the public interest or in the interest of peace and good order so to do, he may, by order in the Gazette, direct that the newspaper named in the order shall cease publication as from the date (hereinafter referred to as ''the effective date'') specified in the order.”


Mr Nnauye said the decision was lawful and that all the necessary precautions were followed before banning the newspaper.

He emphasised that journalists must abide by the Newspapers Act.

Consequently, Mseto was also banned for publishing stories online, in accordance to the Electronic and Postal Communication Act (2008).

In the past, the government has banned numerous newspapers said to have breached the law.

In 2015, The EastAfrican newspaper was banned on grounds that the paper had been circulating in the country without proper registration. The regional paper had been selling in Tanzania for about 20 years.

READ: Tanzania bans ‘The EastAfrican’ over coverage of govt, registration

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Three years earlier, in 2012, a local weekly Swahili newspaper, MwanaHalisi was banned indefinitely over what was said to be seditious articles that threatened national security. However, after appealing to the Tanzanian High Court, the ban was waived.