Dar es Salaam — The Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) and the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) have vehemently condemned the action by the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, to ban the Mawio tabloid for two years.
The condemnation was given today as the newspaper was banned effective June 15 when the minister applied the new Media Services Act, 2016 saying the tabloid contravened Section 59 of the Act and disobeyed the order of the President about not involving retired presidents in the country's mineral resources looting saga.
The THRDC Coordinator, Mr Onesmo Ole Ngurumwa, said this was not the first time for newspapers and media houses to be banned by a minister in the country using various oppressive laws, particularly the 1976 Newspapers Act, which was annulled in 2016 and replaced by the Media Services Act, 2015.
"We are against a legal procedure that gives the minister powers to control the media industry... the current law is not different from the past one as they both give the minister the authority of banning a newspaper using only his views, something which is contrary to the public's interests, " said Mr Ole Ngurumwa.
The newspapers that were banned in the past include Mwananchi, Mawio, Mwanahalisi and Mtanzania.