Dar es Salaam. Hali Halisi Publishers Limited (HHPL) owners of a weekly tabloid, Mwanahalisi, has served the government with a notice to lift a two-year ban in two days or face a lawsuit.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday September 27, HHPL Managing Director Saed Kubenea said they would take the government to court to demand payment of Sh41 million every day the tabloid was not published.
“We will take deputy Information Minister Anastazia Wambura in person to court because she is not allowed by the Media Services Act, 2016 to ban a newspaper. Even the minister is only allowed to ban content publication not the whole newspaper,” he noted.
“To ban a newspaper, the Media Services Act, 2016 requires the minister to file a case at the court, something that wasn’t the case with the decision announced at a press conference addressed by Information Director, Dr Hassan Abbas,” he added.
He denied seditious allegations referred to by the government, saying the decision was made intentionally to prevent members of the public from getting well researched, investigated and comprehensive reports on various issues taking place in the country.
For his part, HHPL lawyer from Kennedy Royal Attorneys Fredrick Kihwelo said the government’s decision had violated the court ruling on a 2012 case the tabloid faced on a similar issue.
“The court ruling prohibited the government from taking such measures against the tabloid…Therefore, since the deputy minister is not allowed by law and the pending case at the court we have agreed to file a case if the ban is not lifted,” he said.
September 19, the government announced to ban Mwanahalisi tabloid for two years for allegedly publishing seditious content and for not adhering to the professional code of conduct. Announcing the decision, Dr Abbas said the ban extended also to online publications.