A local weekly newspaper in Tanzania-MwanaHalisi has been banned from publishing and distribution for a period of 24 months by the Tanzanian government. That is according to a statement released by the government’s spokesperson Dr. Abbas Hassan.
The government claims to have issued several warnings over the violation of media ethics and the publication of false and sensational news, on which the newspaper is said to have ignored.
Some of the news which were featured on the paper’s front page are said to be false news about President John Magufuli and his administration.
“From today, the government has banned the weekly newspaper, MwanaHalisi for a period of 24 months which is 2 years. We have been very tolerant with this newspaper. As fellow journalists and the government, which is the custodian of the media, we have warned them to strictly abide by the ethics of journalism, and at some point, they apologised for that. But unfortunately, they kept repeating the same thing, now we can’t tolerate any more,” revealed Dr. Abbas while meeting journalists in Tanzania’s commercial city of Dar es Salaam.
The government further said that the publication of such false information could jeopardize the country’s peace and security. This is not the first time that MwanaHalisi is banned from news stands.
Responding to the ban that will see the newspaper out of business for the next two years, one MwanaHalisi staff was quoted saying that, the government is overreacting on minor issues and that, it doesn’t want to be criticised.
Earlier this year, the privately-owned Mawio paper was banned for 24 months on June 15, with the government suspending both its print edition and online platforms.
Some Tanzanian journalists feel freedom of the Press has been under threat in Tanzania. In March, this year, the Tanzanian President John Magufuli warned media organizations against “inflammatory” reporting, a day after he fired a cabinet minister who defended press freedom.
MwanaHalisi was launched in 1995 and until now, it has around 20 workers.