The Tanzanian government on Wednesday suspended a newspaper owned by the ruling party for 14 days for publishing a “false” story about President Samia Suluhu.
Uhuru, a newspaper owned by President Suluhu’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, had reported on its front page that the Head of State, who took the reins in March this following President John Magufuli’s death, was considering not to run for the presidency in 2025.
The headline read, “Sina wazo kuwania urais 2025 -Samia (I Don’t Have Intentions to Contest for Presidency in 2025 – Samia).”
In a statement on Wednesday, Tanzania’s director of information services and chief spokesperson Gerson Msigwa termed the story as misleading.
“(Samia Hassan) has made no declaration about not running for the presidency in 2025,” Msigwa said adding that the paper had made “legal and professional mistakes”.
“The Information Services Office believes that this punishment will provide an opportunity for the newspaper to review and improve its professional and ethical conducts, in accordance with the laws and regulations. I also remind all media houses to comply with the existing laws and regulations and observe ethics,” Msigwa said.
The ruling party’s Secretary-General Daniel Chongolo confirmed to members of the press that several editors, including the paper’s chief editor, had been suspended over the story.
The ban is the first to be imposed on a news outlet in the country since Suluhu took over from the late Magufuli who banned several newspapers and broadcasters during his six-year administration.
Nicknamed the bulldozer Magufuli was accused of media censorship by rights groups and the opposition in the country.
In April this year, Suluhu indicated a change in course after ordering the reopening media outlets shut down under Magufuli’s administration, a move that won her praise in the country.