Press release

Tanzania: call for repeal of Newspaper Act to expand media freedom

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17 Feb 2011


Dar el Salaam 17.02.11: As the review of the Tanzanian constitution draws closer, local civil society representatives and media practitioners call for the government to replace the 1976 Newspaper Act with a progressive media law that conforms to international human rights standards, in order to enhance press freedom and freedom of expression in the country.

“ARTICLE19 joins stakeholders’ calls asking for the Tanzania Government to review laws that impede freedom of expression and access to information,” said Dr. Agnes Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE19.

The Newspaper Act has been used to curtail freedom of expression in a number of instances, During the October 2010 election campaign, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Sethi Kamuhanda, visited print media houses to warn them that the government would ban any media that portrayed the government negatively. During the same period, the country’s security forces issued a press statement warning the media against reporting on matters perceived sensitive to national security.

“The government must give priority to reviewing laws that negate freedom of expression and press freedom as the country prepares to embark on the road to constitutional review,” said Rose Haji, the National Coordinator of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Tanzania Chapter.

Other laws limiting press freedom in the country include the National Security Government Notice No. 133 of 1970, the Public Service Act, the Film and Stage Act No 4 of 1976 and the Records and Archives Management Act.

• For more information please contact: Victor Bwire, Programme Officer, ARTICLE 19 Kenya/Eastern Africa,, +254 20 386 2230/2

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