Tanzania president gags media



MASERU – The African Editors Forum (TAEF) has condemned the new anti-media freedom regulations signed by Tanzanian president, John Magufuli. TAEF has labeled Magufuli Africa’s No.1 enemy of media freedom through actions which have eroded the gains made by the Tanzanian media in the past four decades. The shocking changes introduced by Magufuli include barring local media from sharing information, publishing or broadcasting information without the approval of the Ministry of Communication.

Media outlets are only allowed to meet and share information with a foreign journalist in the presence of a government official; and are allowed to air adult content only from midnight to 5 o’clock in the morning. Penalties for violations include an apology with an explanation and a fine. “This is draconian in the extreme and makes the whole continent a laughing stock of the world when technology is making the transmission and sharing of information easier and less onerous,” TAEF said in a statement this week.

TAEF calls on Magufuli to withdraw these ill-advised regulations and allow Tanzanians to access reliable information through a free media. “We call on all Tanzanians to roundly reject them and on the African Union to take a stand and sanction Magufuli. Media freedom is a measure of any country’s democracy and the regression underway in Tanzania means the erosion of the democratic space. Magufuli, who has been behaving like a mega fool of late, has, in the past few years, worked hard against media freedom.

He has, as an example, shut down several media outlets, ordered the seizure and closure of newspapers critical of his government. He has also put in place repressive laws that restrict media freedom and threaten journalist safety in the country. This includes the Electronic and Postal Communications Act, adopted in 2018, which requires anyone with a blog or a website to pay hefty license fees,” the statement reads. New laws have also forced media companies to reapply for operating licences on a more regular basis, further restricting critical voices in local media. ​

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *