Tanzania Bans Daily Newspaper for Three Months for Inaccurate StoryBy
Media outlet becomes third to be suspended in recent weeks
Daily says its story misinterpreted government statement
Tanzania’s government banned a daily newspaper for three months for publishing an inaccurate story, the third media outlet in the East African country to be proscribed since mid-September.
Tanzania Daima, a Swahili-language daily, “misled the country in a big way and brought about panic” with an Oct. 22 story that suggested two-thirds of Tanzanians are using anti-retroviral medication, government spokesman Hassan Abbasi said Tuesday in a statement on his Twitter account.
The publication’s acting managing editor, Martin Malera, said its reporter misinterpreted a Health Ministry statement and the paper had published corrections to the story. “We have no option but to accept the government’s decision,” he said by phone from the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania is ranked 83 out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders’ press-freedoms index. Last month, the weekly newspaper Raia Mwema was suspended for three months for allegedly fabricating quotes and attributing them to President John Magufuli. On Sept. 19, another weekly was banned for two years after the government said it published stories that endangered national security.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, an advocacy group for press freedom, said on Twitter it’s “concerned” by the latest suspension, calling it part of a “censorious trend.”