The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the police shooting of a journalist in Tanzania.
"We vigorously condemn the shooting. It is a terrible atrocity. No one, journalist or not should be subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment by the police. Justifying their attacks on the basis of suspicions is not how the police should handle criminal matters," said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director.
Independent sources from Tanzania reported that police on December 4, shot journalist Shabani Matutu at his house in Dar-es-Salaam, the capital.
According to accounts by the journalist the door to his house was forced open by uniformed police men at 10 pm. Matutu was in bed sleeping and before he had a chance to respond to the purpose of the visit the police pushed him to the floor and started shooting at him.
"Me and my wife, who had gone to bed, heard footsteps outside our house at around 10 pm and before I knew it, the police had forced open our front door. I had no time to ask for an explanation as to the purpose of the visit before I was shot", Matutu reported to the Tanzania Chapter of the Media Institute of southern Africa (MISA-Tanzania) who visited him on the day he was discharged from the hospital on December 6.
The police confirmed the shooting and claimed the shooting was accidental and that they had no intention of shooting the journalist. The regional police commander stressed that the police had no intention of shooting at Matutu and the police men did not know his identity or that he was a journalist. The police also justified the incident by claiming that they had to respond to an emergency call and therefore had to send a search patrol to the area.
"The fact that this is the second shooting in four months where journalists are attacked unprovoked, demonstrates the unwillingness of the authorities to investigate the motives of the attacks in order to end impunity and protect the safety of journalists and freedom of expression. These incidents clearly undermine freedom of expression and the image of the country. We urgethe government of Tanzania to take sufficient measures to ensure the safety of journalists and investigate the motives of the attacks," Baglo added.
The journalist Daudi Mwangosi was killed by the police in September showing the fatal outcome of the animosity of the Police against the media workers in Tanzania.
For more information, please contact IFJ: +221 33 867 95 86
The IFJ represents over 600.000 journalists in 134 countries