By TZ Business News Staff.
Tanzania Media Council (MCT) has expressed doubt President John Pombe Magufuli truly loves Tanzanian journalists as he recently claimed.
The President recently told journalists in Kagera region during an official visit that he loves journalists in Kagera and across the nation because he and the journalists were both toiling to serve the people. He offered to train journalists and promised to set aside a day sometime in future to meet journalists for discussing their challenges.
Talking exclusively to this website by phone, MCT Executive Secretary Kajubi Mukajanga said the Tanzania President’s recent statement in Karagwe, is not in agreement with actions of his administration which prove anti-freedom of expression.
“The actions being taken by his administration against journalists and freedom of expression in general are very repressive,” Mukajanga said, adding that the only explanation in support of the idea the president was telling the truth would be if he had changed like Paul, the follower of Jesus Christ who stopped torturing early Christians only after meeting a magical flash of light as he travelled from Damascus.
“I take it [the President’s statement] with a pinch of salt because we are looking at the actions of his administration. This may just be plain words because actions are not showing any change. That is all I can say,” Mukajanga said. “However, if he has seen the flash of light as he travelled from Damascus, then we should be grateful”
In an earlier statement released November 2, 2017 on the international day to mark the worldwide day of fighting impunity against journalists, MCT cited a long list of incidents in which Tanzanian journalists had been detained, harassed and obstructed from duty by the police, district commissioners and regional commissioners.
Five newspapers have been closed down during the last six months, Kajubi wrote on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. They include Mseto, Mwanahalisi, Mawio, Tanzania Daima and Raia Mwema newspaper. Beside closure of those newspapers, a number of journalist were disturbed while doing their duty.
In Arusha, Halfani Liundi of ITV was placed in custody by the district commissioner Alexander Pastory Mnyeti who has now been promoted to Regional Commissioner for Manyara Region. Augusta Njonji of Nipashe newspaper was detained by the police, questioned and later released on bail for writing a story on the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Reporters working for Mwananchi newspaper, Azam TV and Mtanzania newspaper were recently obstructed by government officials from reporting on students unrest at Geita Secondary school in northern Tanzania. Joel Maduka of Storm FM and Vallence Robert of Channel Ten were recently attacked by the police while on duty covering former prime minister Edward Lowassa who was visiting Geita.
Cameras belonging to the Guardian newspaper photographers Seleman Mpochi and John Badi were recently confiscated when they attended a meeting convened by Sheikh Ponda at Hotel Iris in Dar es Salaam.
Mukajanga called upon journalists in the country to report to the MCT from now on any harassment or obstruction from duty because there is now a register to record all acts against journalists. MCT has said it will now file court cases against individual Government officials who harass or interfere with journalists work.