Tanzania government bans two newspapers
Posted Sunday, September 29 2013 at 00:00
The Tanzanian Government has banned production of Mwananchi and Mtanzania newspapers for three weeks and three months respectively.
The decision to close the two daily papers was announced yesterday (Saturday) by the Director of Information Department, Assa Mwambene, alleging that the two published seditious stories that aimed to provoke discontent between the government and public.
The ban was contained in Government notice No. 333 of Friday, September 27
According to the statement Mwananchi on July 17 published a story on new government salary structures retrieved from a confidential document.
On the second count, according to the statement, the paper published a story on Saturday, August 17 saying Muslims prayed under heavy security. “The news was illuminated by a picture of dog, which translated that Police took the dog to the worship area which was not true,” reads the statement in part.
Mwambene said Mtanzania was warned on a number of occasions but reluctantly opted to go contrary to the Registrars of Newspapers directives, publishing a number of contentious stories.
In one, it said the government was slow in combating acts that ‘look-like’ terror acts.
According to Mwambene, Mtanzania published a story tittled, ‘Bloody Presidential’ on March 20, ‘The Revolution is inevitable’ on June 12, and ‘The government stinks of blood’ on September 27.
The government has banned ‘Mwananchi’ and ‘Mtanzania’ for separate periods effective September 27, 2013, due to their trend of publishing news stories and articles that provoke incitement and hostility, with the intention of influencing the citizens to lose confidence in State organs, and thus endanger the peace and cohesion that prevails in the country.
A fourteen-day (14) ban has been imposed on ‘Mwananchi’ from the date cited above, in compliance with Government Notice Number 333 of September 27, 2013.
That penalty is in response to the newspaper’s recent trend of publishing editorial material that bears an incitement and peace-disruption orientation. An example is a story headlined ‘The government’s new salaries 2013’ in its edition of July 17, 2013, based on a confidential government document that had not been meant for publication by media organs.
What’s more, in its August 17, 2013 edition, the newspaper published a story supported by a headline that read ‘Muslims pray under heavy security presence’, which was spiced up by a photograph of a very fierce-looking dog. The story-photograph combination created an impression that, the Police Force had deployed dogs to places of worship for Islamic worshippers; something that wasn’t true.
During its patrols on that particular day, the Police Force did not deploy dogs to places of worship, because both the government and the Force respect and uphold Islamic ethics, and cannot therefore deploy dogs to places of worship.
For that matter, therefore, the newspaper’s move to publish the news item , and spice it with the dog’s photograph, was an act of provoking hostility by Islamic worshippers towards the Police Force, because dogs are regarded as filthy and are not allowed to go into places of worship.