New York, September 4, 2012–A Tanzanian TV journalist was killed on Sunday during a confrontation with police over the arrest of another journalist, according to several local journalists who witnessed the shooting.
The victim was identified as Daudi Mwangosi, a reporter with the private station Channel Ten and chairman of the press club in the southern city of Iringa, who was covering an opposition party gathering in Nyololo village, local journalists told CPJ. Supporters of Chadema (Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo, or Party for Democracy and Progress) had gathered in defiance of a ban on political demonstrations, which had been put in place during an ongoing regional census, according to news reports. Violence ensued when police beat the Chadema supporters and fired tear gas at them, local journalists said.
Police attacked Mwangosi after he confronted them about the assault and arrest of Godfrey Mushi, a reporter with Nipashe newspaper, three journalists told CPJ. Neville Meena, secretary-general of the Tanzania Editors’ Forum, told Reuters that police fired a tear gas canister into Mwangosi’s stomach at close range. One widely circulated photo appears to show an officer pointing a rifle at an individual being held down by several officers. The scuffle was documented by several journalists, including Francis Godwin and Gustav Cheha.
Mushi told CPJ that police had beaten and detained him for photographing the demonstration. No other journalist was attacked, and he was released without charge two hours later, he said. Mushi also told CPJ he did not know why the police had targeted him.
Police spokesman Advera Senso did not return repeated calls from CPJ seeking comment. Reuters quoted police commissioner of operations Paul Chagonja as saying that “police deny any deliberate involvement in the death of the journalist.” He said a joint military-police inquiry would be conducted into Mwangosi’s death.
“We condemn the killing of Daudi Mwangosi, who witnesses say lost his life while defending a fellow reporter at a news event,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “Preliminary statements show police have pre-judged this case, but with the abundance of photographic evidence and eyewitness testimony, we expect the Tanzanian government to set aside such preconceptions, undertake an immediate, independent investigation, and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Mwangosi, who began his journalism career in 2005, was elected chairman of the Iringa Press Club in 2011, according to local journalists. He is survived by a wife and four children.
Mwangosi’s death is the first work-related fatality documented by CPJ in Tanzania since the organization began keeping detailed records in 1992.
- For more data and analysis on Tanzania, visit CPJ’s Tanzania page here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This alert has been modified to reflect the correct name of the Chadema party. “Chadema” is the acronym for Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo.