Tanzania’s new president lifts media ban


Tanzania’s new President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on Tuesday she would lift a ban on all media in the country, in a reversal of policies implemented by her late predecessor John Magufuli who died last month.

Under Magufuli, rights groups said press freedom in Tanzania was severely curtailed. He had shut down newspapers and websites, jailed journalists and warned them that there were limits to their press freedom.

President Samia said media rules, regulations and penalties should be transparent, so that everyone knows what to expect should they do wrong – and so that the punishment is proportionate.

“I understand that there are media organisations that have been closed – let them open and ensure they follow the law,” President Samia instructed national authorities.

Speaking during the swearing in of new ministers and permanent secretaries, President Samia said government must not be seen to curtail media freedoms.

But some say this does not go far enough.

“We cannot operate in an environment where the same oppressive laws that were used to shut us down exist,” Maria Sarungi Tsehai, who runs local station Kwamza TV, told the BBC.

“We are not asking for favours – just laws. Real change will happen when we are legally free to operate without government intervention.” (Source: BBC)