East Africa Court of Justice rules Tanzania’s Media Services Law defective

What you need to know:

  • Four non-governmental organisations lodged a petition at the regional court challenging the enactment of the Media Services Act.
  • The court ruled in favour of the petitioners arguing that the new law was against the EAC treaty.

Arusha. A regional court has ruled that the Media Services Act 2016 was against protocols of the EAC treaty.

The East Africa Court of Justice ruled today, March 28, 2019, that the law with restrictive media freedom provisions went against the enjoyment of fundamental peoples’ rights stipulated in the treaty. 

The ruling was delivered by Judge Charles Nyachae in Arusha, handing a landmark victory to media practitioners and human rights organisations that went to the court to challenge the new law.

The organisations went to the EACJ following a loss of a similar attempt at the High Court of Tanzania siting in  Mtwara. The Media Serices Act No.12 of 2016 was enacted by the Tanzania Parliament in November 2016 and was signed into law by President John Magufuli the same month.

The petitioners challenged sections of the law that are deemed to be a threat to press freedom and freedom of expression, arguing the sections constituted a violation of Tanzania’s obligation under the East African Treaty to uphold and protect human and peoples’ rights standards as specified in Articles 6(d), 7(2) of the EAC Treaty.

More to follow…….