Tanzanian officials on Sunday suspended another newspaper accused of false stories, despite President Samia Suluhu Hassan pledging to uphold the media freedoms that had been revoked by her predecessor, the late John Pombe Magufuli.
The newspaper, Raia Mwema (which translates to Good Citizen), is a leading weekly Swahili newspaper that has been suspended for 30 days according to a statement by the Government Chief Spokesperson Gerson Msigwa. Msigwa spokesperson cited three articles, “Maumivu Mapya 17”, “Hamza wa CCM hatari” and “DC Kizimbani kwa kudaiwa milioni 100” allegedly containing false information and deliberately causing incitement of the community and the citizens. Raia Mwema was accused of publishing these articles despite the articles going against the professional ethics of journalism.
This is the second recent suspension of a newspaper, coming less than a month from when Uhuru newspaper, owned by the ruling CCM party, was suspended for publishing a story claiming that Suluhu would not vie for office in 2025. These claims were rejected by the government spokesperson who then issued a 14-day suspension of the license of Uhuru newspaper.
Suluhu took office in March 2021 after her predecessor, Magufuli, passed on. Since then, she has reinstated media that had been outlawed by her predecessor in a bid to promote the freedom of the media. This freedom had been curtailed by the late John Magufuli’s administration.
In the statement issuing the current suspension, the government spokesperson informed the newspaper that they had the right to appeal against the punishment to the minister of information. - Rogers Andagalu, U. Nairobi School of Law, KE / JURIST