Tanzania: Newspaper Suspended for Three Years over Critical article on President Magufuli

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Tanzania has placed a three year ban on a local tabloid reportedly for publishing an article against President John Magufuli.

Mseto, which publishes in Kiswahili is suspended for it’s August 4, 2016 article titled ‘Waziri amchafua JPM, amhusisha na rushwa ya uchaguzi mkuu, ni Naibu Waziri wa Ujenzi na Mawasiliano,’ which is literally  translates as “Minister tarnishes image of JPM (President John Magufuli)

The paper reported that the country’s Minister of Works, Transport and communication Edwin Ngonyani used his powers as a director of State Mining Corporation a position he previously held, to solicit funds from the international business community to facilitate President Magufuli’s campaign in 2015.

Magufuli has vehemently denied the claims saying his campaign was not funded by any businessmen.

In a statement, Tanzania’s Minister of Information Culture, Art and sports Nape Nnauye described the article as utterly seditious. The ban means that the newspaper would not be published both in print and online.

The Minister also warned media houses against covering opposition demonstrations in an “irresponsible way”

“I would not tolerate those who write the stories in a manner that would incite the public; everyone should play his or her part according to professionalism,” he said.

He called on media owners, editors and reporters to adhere to media laws and regulations as well as ethics in order to avoid clashes with the government.

Mseto becomes the second newspaper to be banned in Tanzania over related claims. Mawio, a weekly newspaper was expelled in January 2016 for publishing investigative articles on the tense political situation in the Islands of Zanzibar at the time. Government said “not happy” with the content.

The Tanzania government has also been in the spotlight for trumping down on freedom of expression.

In June, a 40-year-old man was sentenced to three years in jail or pay a fine of TSh7 million after he was found guilty of insulting President John Magufuli on his Facebook page.