With all this happening in Tanzania,
critics are uncertain whether the country, from a media freedom perspective,
is moving in the right direction.
On a positive note, 2017 saw over 110
journalists in Mwanza, Mara, Geita,
Simiyu, Manyara, Arusha, Kilimanjaro
and Kigoma being steered through the
array of new media laws in a bid to
deepen their understanding of the media legal regime. The media training was
aimed at providing them with protection
against legal battles they are facing.
A number of journalists enrolled in universities and colleges to meet the professional requirements of the law, as stipulated in the Media Services Act of 2016
and the Media Services Regulations of
2017, requiring, at the very minimum,
a diploma to qualify for registration as a
practicing journalist.
Fostering free, independent and pluralistic media in print, broadcast and online
is essential if media development has to
have a meaning. It is in this respect that
MISA Tanzania will enhance freedom
of expression, and thus contribute to
peace, sustainability, poverty eradication and human rights in Tanzania.

Freedom of expression, which is guaranteed in the Tanzanian Constitution, has
been undermined by the enactment of
the Media Services Act (MSA) 2016, the
National Security Act (2016), the Statistics Act (2015), and the Cybercrimes Act
(2015), all of which severely curtail media freedoms and access to information.
The MSA grants authorities sweeping
powers “to prevent or put obstacles to
the publication of any content that endangers national security or public safety”, thereby replacing self-regulation of

the media with government regulation.
Critics argue that this array of restrictive legislation is coupled with President
Magufuli’s outspoken stance against any
form of negative criticism, whether it is
from citizens or from the media.
The president used the podium during
the swearing in of the Minister of Information, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, to
issue a warning to the media fraternity:
“I would like to tell media owners - be
careful, watch it. If you think you have
that kind of freedom, [it is] not to that
extent.” According to a Reuters report he
ordered Mwakyembe “to clamp down
on media organizations that publish or
broadcast material deemed to incite unrest, saying his government would not
allow a few individuals to destabilize
east Africa’s second-biggest economy
The Tanzania Human Rights Defenders
Coalition (THRDC) recorded nationwide violations against 46 human rights
defenders ranging from arrests to malicious prosecutions, forced disappearances, threats, intimidation, torture and
decriminalisation of expression.
Artist Ibrahim Musa alias Roma Mkatoliki and 3 fellow artists Moni, Bello and
Emma were kidnapped from a recording
studio in Dar es Salaam and went missing for two days before they were found
at Oyster Bay Police Station. The results
of the investigation into their torture and
abduction have never been released and
neither has the police issued a statement
on the progress of the investigation.
Hip-hop artist Emanuel Elibariki alias
Nay wa Mitego was arrested by the police in the Morogoro region for allegedly
releasing a song that insults the president. Ney wa Mitego’s song questioned
freedom of expression in Tanzania. He

So This is Democracy? 2017


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