Tanzanian government has officially banned all local media outlets from broadcasting foreign news in what has been seen as a crackdown on free press and dissent voices. The new regulations demand the presence of an assigned government official when foreign journalists cover local stories. Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority issued an amendment for both radio and Television on Monday 10 August. In what has been seen as a move to stifle presidential aspirations by Chadema, Radio Free Africa has been put on notice by TCRA, expected to issue an explanation as to why action shouldn’t be taken on them for broadcasting BBC’s ‘Amka na BBC’ morning program on 29 July. BBC had interviewed Chadema’s Presidential flagbearer Tundu Lissu claiming they were recently‘denied entry at Mkapa’s funeral’.
With the presidential elections set for October,, the new law suggests that all foreign correspondents will not be able to work with local journalists and fixers except in the presence of a state official asigned to over see the news
It is a punishable offense to down play the reputation of Tanzania on social media platforms according to a law recently set by Tanzanian Information Minister Harrison Mwakyembe which became operational on 17 July. These new regulations will see the state tighten the usage of internet and media. According to the regulations, social media users will not be able to rally each other, plan, promote or even call for demonstration marches in the nation. The new law also prohibits content on coronavirus in the country without the approval of a state official. The John Magufuli led government has become increasingly authoritarian since Magufuli’s ascendency to power in 2015. The new media and online regulations come hours after President Magufuli’s main opponent in the October polls Tundu Lissu was interviewed by Kenya’s Radio Citizen on issues ranging from elections, media freedom, human rights and coronavirus status in the nation. The Chadema Deputy Chair and Presidential flagbearer claims that President Magufuli’s government has already warned the various media outlets against carrying any content that bears his name or that of his party. “Tanzania is facing very turbulent times when it comes to press freedoms and human rights, they have imposed very draconian laws that barres the media from reporting and citizens from expressing themselves freely, no media outlet is writing
about my candidature, they are scared but we will triumph,” he told Kenya’s Radio Citizen on Monday morning. There has been a rallying call from Tanzania’s main opposition party Chadema urging the Kenyan media to offer the opposition a platform that they can use to air out their views since the government started the media crackdown. Kenyan journalists took to twitter in solidarity with their Tanzanian colleagues.
Martin Wachira, Editor-in-Chief Pulselive Kenya tweeted, “They want to control all content and have turned their guns on foreign journalists, they want to gag and seal all loopholes of any media freedom in the country, under threat is underestimating the situation, they have gagged and muzzled the press,” posted
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News Correspondent