Human Lives Human Rights: The government in Tanzania has lifted a ban on four newspapers, that were barred from publishing since 2016 and 2017 for exposing alleged corruption and human rights violations.
Nape Nnauye, the minister for Information and Information Communication Technology, issued publishing licenses to newspapers Mwanahalisi, Mawio, Mseto and Tanzania Daima, an opposition-leaning outlet.
In August 2016, Mseto was banned from publishing after it published an article implicating an assistant state minister in a corruption scandal while in 2017, Harrison Mwakyembe, the then Minister of Information, Culture and Sports banned four newspapers — Mawio, Mwanahalisi, Raia Mwema, and Tanzania Daima — for publishing stories on allegations of corruption.
The four newspapers, Daima, Mawio, Mwanahalisi and Mseto, were banned from publishing for various offences under the restrictive Media Services Act, which came into force in November 2016.
Saed Kubenea, the director of Hali Halisi publishers which owns some of the reinstated newspapers, said the decision was encouraging.
“Nearly all these newspapers finished their punishments two or three years ago and also they won court cases. However, they were not allowed to go back to the market. But let bygones be bygones,” he said after receiving the licenses.
A report says over the past six years various newspapers have been targeted and shut down for exposing cases of corruption and human rights violations.
Rights groups say now that the ban on these newspapers has been lifted, the Tanzanian authorities must immediately repeal the Media Services Act to ensure that independent media outlets can operate freely, and carry out their work without fear of reprisals, which is essential for the enjoyment of the rights to freedom of expression and access to information.