Stop banning newspapers: HRW warns Tanzania’s Government

This is all part of a wider pattern of repression targeting freedom of expression

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Human Rights Watch condemns ban on newspaper

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has berated the ban of Tanzania’s leading newspaper, The Citizen, saying forms part of a succession of attacks on freedom of expression by the government of President John Pombe Magufuli.

The Citizen was last week banned for a week from circulation offline and online, having been accused of propaganda concerning the devaluation of the Tanzanian shilling.

HRW highlighted previous suspensions on newspapers including the ban in 2017 on four newspapers, and the 2016 Media Services Act which gives the government the power to limit and restrict the independence of the media.

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‘‘This is all part of a wider pattern of repression targeting freedom of expression over the past few years including creating an excessively high fee to blog, criminalizing posting certain content online, fining TV stations, and prohibiting the publication of independent statistics without government permission.’‘

HRW warned that the actions of the government could prevent ‘people from having legitimate discussions about serious issues facing the country’. Last year, several civil society organisations including the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), wrote a letter to Magufuli asking his government to put a stop to the attacks on journalists and acknowledge the pivotal role that the civil society and independent media play in promoting peaceful coexistence.

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