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Attacks on the Press in 1998 - Tanzania

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 1999
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1998 - Tanzania, February 1999, available at: [accessed 22 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

As of December 31, 1998

In September, the Tanzanian chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa petitioned the High Court to declare provisions of Broadcasting Services Act No. 6 of 1993 unconstitutional because it restricts private broadcasters to a maximum range of five of the country's more than 20 administrative regions.

The case is a direct challenge to state-owned radio, the only media that broadcast throughout the entire country. State broadcasters gave President Benjamin Mkapa and his ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party a powerful advantage in the nation's first multiparty elections in 1995. The CCM also returned to power on the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, where journalists face reprisals for reporting on differences between the island's majority Muslim population and the Christian majority in the rest of the country. Presidential and legislative elections are set for 2000, but as long as access to information is limited, the country appears poised to continue its 35-year history of de facto one-party rule.

On December 8, Tanzanian police barred Ali Sultan, a free-lance reporter for the Daily Mail newspaper, from entering the Vuga Magistrate Court in Zanzibar, where 18 members of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) were on trial for high treason. In July, police interrogated Betty Masanja, a reporter for the privately owned Dar es Salaam Television (DTV), and threatened to charge her with treason if she did not provide them with a written statement disclosing information she had obtained during an interview with the CUF vice chairman, who is one of the defendants. The state could use Masanja's statement as evidence in the trial, effectively making her a witness for the prosecution.

Most private radio stations do not produce their own news programs because of meager budgets and the prohibitive costs of production. While stations carry foreign news programs, only a small percentage of the broadcasts report local news.

Independent newspapers – some of which were banned this year for "unethical articles" – publish critical reports about the government and its policies, but they are read by a small segment of the population because of low literacy rates and the prohibitive cost for the majority of citizens.

Attacks on the Press in Tanzania in 1998

7/30/98Betty Masanja, Dar es Salaam Television (DTV)Threatened, Harassed
6/8/98Arusha LeoCensored
6/3/98Ally Mwankufi, Mtanzania Attacked, Harassed
4/16/98Kiondo Mshana, Taifa LetuHarassed
4/15/98Peter Saramba, MajiraHarassed
4/11/98Balinagwe Mwambungu, MfanyakaziHarassed
1/4/98Mwinyi Sadala, NipasheHarassed
1/4/98Khalfan Said, GuardianHarassed
1/4/98Pascal Mayalla, Dar es Salaam Television (DTV)Harassed
1/4/98Ally Saleh, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)Harassed
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