Dar es Salaam. The government has withdrawn the licence for publication and distribution of The Citizen newspaper for seven days beginning February 27.
The decision was announced by the Information Services Department over the newspaper’s story on experts’ views on the depreciation of the shillings against the dollar. The story was published on February 23, 2019.
The letter banning the newspaper and dated February 27, 2019 was signed by the Newspaper Registrar, Mr Patrick Kipangula, on behalf of the director of Information Services Department, Dr Hassan Abbasi. It was sent to the Executive Editor of Mwananchi Communications Limited. The ban also include the newspaper’s website.
“In the story, you deliberately and fallaciously misled the public into believing that the value of the Tanzania shilling has depreciated when compared to the last three years without following the law and regulations that require all the financial rates to be declared by the Bank of Tanzania,” read part of the said letter.
“The decision to suspend the licence follows a trend of stories and features that largely contravenes professional ethics, repeatedly mislead about government information and openly incite against rules of the licence,” continues the letter.
The government says that despite the newspaper severally offering apologies, it continues with the same controversial style of writing and wanted it to change and follow the professional ethics and the laws of the land.
The director says other than the story, The Citizen also published another story that was unethical on July, 22, 2018. The story titled “US Senator Raises Alarm on Tanzania” quoted Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey detailing Tanzania’s democratic situation.
The suspension means The Citizen will be back in circulation on March 7, 2019.
The MCL Executive Editor, Mr Bakari Machumu, said they have received with shock the suspension but will abide by the decision of the government.
“We have received the decision of the government with shock but as a company we believe in working in accordance to the law, we will thus comply,” said Mr Machumu.