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Attacks on the Press in 2005 - Snapshots: Tanzania

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 2006
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2005 - Snapshots: Tanzania, February 2006, available at: [accessed 17 December 2017]
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.

In June, authorities on the semi-autonomous Tanzanian island of Zanzibar banned critical political columnist Jabir Idrissa from writing, accusing him of working without permission from the island authorities. Idrissa disputed the charges, citing his press accreditation from the mainland government. The ban was lifted later the same month, after the journalist applied for and was granted local accreditation.

In September, a group of prison wardens and prisoners acting on their orders assaulted Mpoki Bukuku, chief photographer for the privately owned Sunday Citizen, as he attempted to cover the eviction of families from houses that were being repossessed by the Tanzanian Prisons Department. Christopher Kidanka, information officer for a local human rights organization, was also assaulted. After Home Affairs Minister Omar Ramadhan Mapuri defended the assault, saying that Prisons Department officers had used "reasonable" force in the evictions, local media organizations announced a ban on all coverage of the minister. He later apologized for his statements.

Also in September, Tanzanian authorities banned HakiElimu, a local nongovernmental organization, from compiling or publishing reports on Tanzania's education system. The Ministry of Education and Culture accused the organization of "disparaging the image of our education system and the teaching profession of our country through [the] media," according to news reports and the local chapter of the Media Institute for Southern Africa. The ministry's action stemmed from a HakiElimu report issued in August that criticized government efforts to reform primary education, press reports stated.

Amid preparations for delayed national elections, the government ordered two local newspapers to temporarily cease publishing, accusing both of violating the 1976 Newspaper Act. The Swahili-language daily Tanzania Daima was suspended for three days for publishing a picture and caption deemed offensive to President Benjamin Mkapa. The newspaper is published by a media company associated with opposition presidential candidate Freeman Mbowe, according to news reports. The weekly tabloid Amani was suspended for 28 days for alleged ethical violations. According to the Media Institute of Southern Africa, the Newspaper Act gives the minister of information wide discretionary powers to suspend or close newspapers.

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