Threats from government officials against media outlets in Tanzania have led to a culture of self-censorship among journalists. With sedition, publication of “false news”, insult, criminal defamation and cyber security laws used to arrest individuals dissenting on social media, Tanzanian authorities have taken steps to persecute and prosecute dissent in the media and among the public.
With the passage and rigorous implementation of the repressive Media Services Act and the Cyber Crime Act, the government has been granted broad powers to restrict free speech. The Media Services Act criminalises “sedition” and “false news”, which the Cyber Crime Act enables broad surveillance powers and criminal charges for expression online. The Penal Code also continues to be used to suppress dissenting voices.
ARTICLE 19 focuses on bringing the international community’s attention to violations in the country through engagement with international mechanisms, and training journalists and local civil society groups to effectively engage with UN and AU bodies. We monitor digital threats and surveillance tactics, and develop mitigation strategies to help civil society and human rights defenders continue their work without suffering censorship.