Tanzania closes opposition leader’s newspaper
Saturday June 27 2020
The Tanzania government revoked the publication and circulation licence for Tanzania Daima, a daily newspaper that is associated with opposition leader Freeman Mbowe.
The Registrar of Newspapers Patrick Kipangula, in a statement, said the daily had repeatedly flouted national laws and journalism ethics in its reportage.
He also accused the publication of failure to comply with ethical reporting provisions as stated in its operating licence.
The statement further accused the newspaper of publishing seditious reports.
The daily is allowed to file an appeal with the Ministry of Information, Culture, Sports and Arts within 30 working days.
The United States embassy in Tanzania on June 25 condemned the “revocation of the media licence of an opposition party newspaper.”
The Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) and Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) issued a joint statement terming the government’s decision as “sad” and one that curtails media freedom and freedom of expression.
The statement signed by MCT Kajubi Mukajanga and TEF executive secretary Neville Meena said Tanzania Daima has been banned at a time when citizens need information platforms to be broadened rather than narrowed.
“We have said consistently, as we hereby reiterate that the Governance and Rule of Law Media Services Act (MSA) is a bad law because it allows the government to be complainant, prosecutor and judge of its own case”, said the statement that added that the decision leaves no room for fairness in dispensing justice.
“The law provides for an aggrieved party whose licence has been revoked to re-apply for the licence to the same authority that revoked it, or to appeal to the Minister for Information under whom the Directorate falls. It is apparent that this arrangement does not instill a lot of confidence”, said their statement.
Tanzania Daima, which is known for its criticism of the government, is published by Free Media Ltd, a company that is 75 per cent owned by Lilian Mtei, the wife of the main opposition party, Chadema, chairman Freeman Mbowe.
Mr Mbowe along with several others in the opposition party have declared their intention to run against President John Pombe Magufuli in this year’s election.
Media stakeholders have challenged the Media Services Act in the East African Court of Justice.
The court recently ruled against that law, urging the Tanzania government to take necessary measures to amend it.