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Govt shuts down Mwananchi, Mtanzania for ‘provoking hostility’

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Government spokesperson Assah Mwambene says they ordered both newspapers temporarily boarded up due to their tendency to publish stories that shore up negative public sentiment. PHOTO | FILE 

By The Citizen Reporter

Posted  Sunday, September 29   2013 at  01:00

In Summary

  • The decision was announced yesterday by the Director of Information, Mr Assah Mwambene, citing, as the main reason, the tendency by the newspapers to publish stories and photographs that were intended to provoke hostility by the public, against the State as well as defence and security organs.
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Dar es Salaam. The Government has imposed fourteen-day and ninety-day publication bans on Mwananchi and Mtanzania newspapers respectively, effective Friday, September 27.

The decision was announced yesterday by the Director of Information, Mr Assah Mwambene, citing, as the main reason, the tendency by the newspapers to publish stories and photographs that were intended to provoke hostility by the public, against the State as well as defence and security organs.

Mr Mwambene said the decision was in enforcement of Government Notice No. 333 of Friday, September 27, 2013, the date on which the ban takes effect.

According to the statement on July 17, 2013 Mwananchi printed a story on new government salary structures which was based on a confidential dossier that was never meant to be made public.

Moreover, on August 17, 2013 the same newspaper published a story that the government argues falsely shows Muslims worshippers had had to pray under a heavy police guard.

A photograph that accompanied the story “created the impression that the police had deployed dogs to places of worship, which wasn’t true,” reads the government brief.

Mr Mwambene said Mtanzania had on a number of occasions been warned over violating professional ethics, but had defied directives of the registrar of newspapers, by publishing emotive stories, implying that, the government was slow in combating terrorist attacks and similar incidents.

He cited screaming headlines like ‘Bloody Presidency’ in the March 20, 2013 edition and ‘A revolution is inevitable’ on September 27, 2013 as other cases in point.

For details, see the following UNOFFICIAL translation of the government edict. The original statement can be found here in Kiswahili

THE COMPLETE GOVERNMENT STATEMENT

(An Unofficial Translation)

The government has banned Mwananchi and ‘Mtanzania’ for separate periods effective September 27, 2013, due to their trend of publishing news stories and articles that provoke incitement and hostility, with the intention of influencing the citizens to lose confidence in State organs, and thus endanger the peace and cohesion that prevails in the country.

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