2 October 2013

Tanzania: Govt Warns Banned Tabloids Over Defiance

THE government has strongly warned publishers of two suspended daily tabloids - 'Mwananchi' and 'Mtanzania' to stop defying the order by continuing to operate through other publications.

The two tabloids were suspended by the government on September 27, this year, for publishing seditious articles. The tabloids, 'Mwananchi' and 'Mtanzania' were banned for 14 days and 90 days, respectively.

Addressing a news conference in Dar es Salaam , the government spokesperson, Mr Assa Mwambene, said that Mwananchi newspaper has defied the order by publishing the paper on-line something that was not permitted.

Mr Mwambene said that the on-line publication of the paper was against the law and that the government has informed the management to stop the practice immediately otherwise it risk punitive measures.

As for "Mtanzania" Newspaper under the New Habari Corporation (2006), Mr Mwambene said the production has been transferred to a weekly sister newspaper "Rai" which has begun running on daily basis from September 29, this year.

"The publication of Rai on daily basis is contrary to the approved operation licence that requires it to come out weekly. Notwithstanding, this is happening without proper communication with the office of the Registrar of Newspapers. The daily publication of "Rai" must be stopped immediately pending further determination," he said, adding:

"We strongly warn Mwananchi and Mtanzania to stop the malpractice immediately otherwise the government will take stringent action against them," he said. In line with the move, Mr Mwambene said the management of the tabloids should give explanation as to why they decided to defy the suspension order.

"We sent them letters today requiring them to provide reasons behind the move," he said, adding that the publishers should provide the explanations by tomorrow. According to Mr Mwambene, the suspension of two Kiswahili dailies for a specified period was not done hurriedly but the decision was preceded by effective communication and consultation with the involved parties, says the government.

He said that interdiction of the newspapers observed the established rules and regulations guiding the country's freedom of expression and access to information.

" T h e papers,'Mwananchi' and 'Mtanzania' were banned, one for two weeks and the other for three months respectively. The order was enforced according to the Newspapers Act of 1976 also in conformity to the linked regulations of 1977," he noted.

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