TANZANIA: Government bans private weekly


OCTOBER 13, 2008

The Ministry of Information, Sports, and Culture banned the private weekly MwanaHalisi for three months starting October 13, for “inciting public hatred against the president.”

Police interrogated the newspaper’s managing editor, Saed Kubenea, and Editor Jabir Idrissa in the office of the director of criminal investigations on October 12 and 13. The ministry suspended the paper under the Newspaper Act of 1976, calling the weekly’s articles seditious and insulting to the president and his family.

On October 7, MwanaHalisi published a front-page story outlining an alleged plot to oust President Jakaya Kikwete in the 2010 presidential election, according to local news reports. The article named several senior leaders in the president’s party, and his son, Ridhiwani.

Kubunea learned of the ban from Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation’s evening radio newscast, which read an announcement from the ministry, he told CPJ.

The eight regional party leaders implicated by the newspaper in the plot denied the allegations. On October 30, the eight leaders demanded that MwanaHalisi publish an unconditional apology and demanded the magazine pay 500 million Tanzanian shillings (US$389,423) in damages to each of the officials.