Director General of Tanzania Information Services (MAELEZO) and Chief government spokesperson Dr Hassan Abbasi.
THE government has slapped a weekly tabloid, MwanaHALISI, and its online version, with a two-year ban effective September 19, 2017, for publishing seditious and fabricated articles which threatened national security.
Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Director of Information Services Department, MAELEZO, who doubles as the Government Spokesperson, Dr Hassan Abbasi, said the decision was in accordance with Section 59 of the Information Services Act No.12 of 2017.
"This decision has been reached after a long term effort by the government to remind Mwana- Halisi editors over the importance of working accordance to journalism ethics and standards, but they were defiant," he noted.
Dr Abbasi said that he was irked by the fact that the newspaper has been repeating the same mistakes now and again despite several reminders from the government.
He further said that journalism's first obligation was to tell the truth, but in their September 4-10, 2017 edition, they published a feature article titled, "Makinikia yakwama" that did not have any truth in it and had intentions to make the public believe that negotiations over the mineral concentrates had failed.
"The editors were summoned and cautioned over weaknesses in the article and were ordered to apologise, but the newspaper chose not to," he said.
The weekly-tabloid, in its January 30 - February 5 edition, published an article titled "Ufisadi ndani ya ofisi ya JPM," which can be translated as "Graft in the office of JPM", however, the content described procurement flaws at Kibaha Education Centre, in Coast Region contrary to the headline.
Expounding further he said the article intended at tarnishing the image of the President, the government and thus instructed the editors of the newspaper to assess themselves and make an apology in accordance to Section 40 of Media Services Bill of 2016, which gives them an opportunity to express regret.
The MAELEZO Boss said due to such reasons, the government has seen that the editors of MwanaHALISI and the entire leadership were not ready to abide by journalism ethics and therefore are given more time to meditate if they still need to continue working as journalists or not.
"Journalism is a profession with rights and responsibilities; the key rights of journalism are clarified in article 19 (2) of the International Political and Civil Rights Agreement of 1966 which Tanzania has ratified since 1976 and incorporated its foundations in its laws, particularly article 7 of the Information Service Act No.12 of 2017," said Dr Abbasi.