The authorities in Tanzania must launch an immediate investigation into the incident in which a prominent journalist, Daudi Mwangosi, was killed on Sunday while covering an opposition political rally in a village of the Iringa region, south of the country. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) made the call amid reports that the journalist was assaulted by police officers and later struck by a tear gas as police charged protesters.
"We are deeply shocked by this killing which robs a family and the profession of a decent man and a courageous journalist," said Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. "The circumstances surrounding his death indicate that foul play by Police should not be ruled out. That is why we urge the authorities to leave no stone unturned in finding out why yet again a journalist had to lose his life doing his work."
According to the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA), an IFJ affiliate, Daudi Mwangosi, who worked for Channel Ten as a TV reporter, died after being struck by a tear gas as police dispersed a crowd at a rally staged by an opposition political party, Chadema cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Party for Democracy and Progress) which was launching its new office.
Violence erupted after police asked people to disperse because rallies and demonstrations had been "banned". Police reportedly started to use tear gas, one of which hit the Channel Ten journalist in the stomach as he was about 100 meters from the new Chadema office. He died on the spot, EAJA reported.
Eyewitnesses also said that the journalist was set upon by police officers after he challenged them over the arrest of a fellow reporter at the rally, according to local sources quoted by media. One photograph taken at the rally and seen by the IFJ shows officers surrounding, their batons drawn, Mwangosi who was on the ground.
The International Federation of Journalists says the role of the police in this incident has to be investigated and has called on the Tanzanian Government to rapidly put in place an independent commission of inquiry into the death of Daudi Mwangosi to ensure that justice is done to Mwangosi.
"The journalist fraternity can no longer accept the killing of journalists with impunity, most especially from the reckless action of security officers whose responsibility is to protect life and property," added Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. "The safety and security of journalists must be seen as a top priority of governments and the Tanzanian authorities can expect a relentless campaign to ensure no one is shielded from accountability for our colleague's killing."
Mwangosi is the ninth media worker to be killed in this year in Eastern Africa following eight media killings in Somalia.