Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 13:06 GMT

World Report - Tanzania

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date April 2010
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, World Report - Tanzania, April 2010, available at: [accessed 19 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.
  • Area: 945 087 sq km
  • Population: 41 048 532
  • Official languages: Kiswahili, English
  • Head of state: President Jakaya Kikwete, since December 2005

Tanzania is one of Africa's top 10 respecters of media freedom. The local media is very diverse and includes quality newspapers. But fairly strict laws can lead to censorship.

Attacks on media freedom have become fewer over the years and journalists work in steadily improving conditions. The media has opened up since multiparty democracy arrived in the mid-1990s, the number of journalists and media outlets has grown. Many newspapers are published and numerous local radio stations also routinely relay international news from the BBC, Voice of America and Radio France Internationale (RFI). The stations broadcast in Kiswahili and English in both towns and villages. A wide range of privately-owned TV stations can be seen in parts of the country. The Internet is still limited to urban areas but connections are expanding.

Tanzania still has fairly strict media laws on the book. Journalists and media outlets can be prosecuted for reporting news deemed "contrary to the public interest" and for "sedition." In January 2010, the newspaper Leo Tena was shut down for publishing alleged pornography and the investigative weekly Kulikoni was suspended for three months because of a report about the army without the matter going before the regulatory authority, the Media Council.

In semi-autonomous Zanzibar, press laws are stricter and local government monitoring more severe, though the situation has eased in recent years. Censorship and harassment have become less and the population has free access to the mainland media.

Some topics remain very sensitive in a society that still has its taboos. A journalist working for the BBC was forced to go into hiding in May 2009 when she got death threats after reporting on the role of witch-doctors in persecuting albinos.

Updated : April 2010

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