Tanzania

President Suluhu acts on promise to expand media freedoms, arbitrary arrests of journalists continue

President Suluhu meets exiled opposition leader; Opposition party chairman released from detention; Planned eviction of Maasai community sparks protests in Tanzania and UK; Legislative amendments approved to expand media freedom; New licences issued to newspapers banned during Maghufuli era; Arbitrary arrests of journalists a remaining concern Read more

President Suluhu acts on promise to expand media freedoms, arbitrary arrests of journalists continue

systematic crackdown on dissent continues

Freeman Mbowe, the chairman of the country's main opposition party, Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Swahili for Party of Democracy and Progress) popularly known as Chadema, appeared in the High Court charged with terrorism-related and economic crimes; police officers arrest and detain women members of Chadema while they were jogging; cartoonist, Opptertus John Fwema, arrested at his home; police officers arrest and detain Harlod Shemsanga, a journalist at the YouTube based Mgawe TV, while covering the above-mentioned jogging event by women members of Chadema Read more

systematic crackdown on dissent continues

Attacks, pressure on dissent and opposition unrelenting

Members of the country’s main opposition party, Chadema, arrested just hours ahead of planned conference in Mwanza; Authorities in Mwanza ban “unnecessary gatherings” as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19, a day before the Chadema party’s planned conference; protesters demanding the release of Chadema party leader arrested; publication and distribution of Raia Mwema, a weekly tabloid, suspended for 30 days Read more

Attacks, pressure on dissent and opposition unrelenting

More commitments to improve press freedom

During a meeting with editors of major Tanzanian media outlets, President Samia Suluhu Hassan requested Tanzanians to give her more time to improve the country’s economy before resuming the stalled new constitution process and allowing political rallies to begin. Political rallies have been banned since the announcement by former President John Magufuli of a blanket ban on such rallies. In practice, the measure has been selectively applied against opposition parties. Read more

More commitments to improve press freedom

Concerns over media freedom remain despite positive presidential signals

On 16th March 2021, four opposition politicians fled to Kenya in fear for their safety. The politicians faced political persecution for rejecting the 2020 election results that declared Magufuli the President. On 20th April 2021, the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) announced that its bank accounts had been unfrozen . THRDC’s accounts were frozen in August 2020, as previously reported by the Monitor. This resulted in the suspension of the Coalition’s activities for eight months. Despite positive moves by the government to improve freedom of expression, journalists continue to be arrested and targeted by the authorities. According to a statement released by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), five journalists were arrested and harassed by the authorities in April. On 9th April 2021, Dr. Philis Nyimbi, the District Commissioner of Nayamagana issued threats against an ITV journalist, Mabere Makubi. On 12th April 2021, authorities briefly detained Dickson Billikwija, a private broadcaster for Islands TV, and Christopher James, a broadcaster for ITV and Radio One. The two journalists were detained on the orders of Lusubilo Mwakabibi, the District Executive Director of Temeke. Read more

Concerns over media freedom remain despite positive presidential signals

2020 elections marred with gross irregularities spark growing concern for civic space in Tanzania

Tanzania’s general elections took place on 28th October 2020. Incumbent President John Pombe Magufuli claimed a landslide victory with a reported 84% of the vote in the presidential election. In the run-up to the elections, the fairness of the electoral process was repeatedly questioned by national and international observers, who pointed to an uneven playing field between the ruling CCM party and opposition parties. Several violations to civic space were documented in the lead up to, during and after the elections. Read more

2020 elections marred with gross irregularities spark growing concern for civic space in Tanzania

More restrictions reported ahead of October election

Offices of leading opposition party CHADEMA, in Arusha, attacked with firebombs and badly damaged; Tanzanian Human Rights Defenders Coalition's (THRDC) bank accounts frozen following an order from authorities; Read more

More restrictions reported ahead of October election

Authorities embark on major crackdown on expression amid COVID-19 and ahead of elections

Opposition members power-through as elections approach; and HRDs stifled by overly stringent laws, raids and prosecution; Targeting of LGBTIQ+ community continues; Journalists, critics face backlash for reporting and speaking out about COVID-19 measures in the country; Journalists, media outlets and artists targeted for criticising president, politicians Read more

Authorities embark on major crackdown on expression amid COVID-19 and ahead of elections

Tanzania: Dissidents and critics bear heavy brunt of increasing restrictions on expression

Exiled opposition leader comments on upcoming elections; restrictions on expression continue amid Coronavirus outbreak; Journalist Eric Kabendera released from detention after plea bargain; Rights commission warns against use of hate speech; Court application against draconian online content regulations quashed; Plans to block unregistered sim cards cause concern; Opposition party member Zitto Kabwe receives death threats for criticising government policy; Human Rights Watch report documents systematic attacks on LGBTIQ community; Government official Paul Makonda banned from travel to the US for targeting LGBTIQ community; Groups call for release of detained activist Tito Magoti; eight senior members and one former senior leader of Tanzania’s main opposition party, CHADEMA sentenced in court for 2018 demonstration Read more

Tanzania: Dissidents and critics bear heavy brunt of increasing restrictions on expression

Government tightens reins on civic freedoms during the last year

over the last year, the experienced continued closing of civic space by introducing restrictive laws, abduction and detention of HRDs, while crackdown on press freedom continued Read more

Government tightens reins on civic freedoms during the last year