Tanzania has suspended yet another newspaper for allegedly publishing false information.
In a statement on Sunday, Gerson Msigwa, the government’s chief spokesperson, announced the banning of Raia Mwema – a leading Swahili-language weekly, for a period of 30 days starting Monday.
“They have repeatedly been making distortion of information,” Mr Msigwa said.
“With the powers vested in me under section 9 (b) of the Media Services Act No. 12 of 2016, I have decided to suspend for 30 days the license the publication and distribution of Raia Mwema newspaper from tomorrow, September 06, 2021.”
He cited three articles including one involving a man who fatally shot four at a diplomatic quarter in Dar es Salaam.
The tabloid allegedly linked the gunman to the ruling party, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM).
“Raia Mwema issue No.844 of August 21, 2021 published an article with the headline ‘Maumivu mapya 17’ (new 17 pains)” implying that the government is hurting it’s citizens by imposing 17 levies on various works of artist and in this case the newspaper went against the section 52 (1) (a), (c), (d) and (e) as well as 54 (1) of the Information Services Act No. 12 of 2016,” the statement read in part.
The other article, he said, was “issue No.853 page 1 and on page 3 and 4 published an article entitled “Hamza wa CCM hatari” (CCM’s Hamza is dangerous), and they sought to convince the public beyond reasonable doubt that Hamza was a CCM cadre or leader.”
Mr Msigwa noted that this type of information could lead to hatred among its people.
“Edition No. 853 page 1 and 3 the publication wrote an article entitled ‘DC kizimbani akidaiwa Milioni 100’ (DC in the dock over Sh100 million debt), in this article the headline did not match the content as the DC in reference had already retired.”
Three weeks ago, the President Samia Suluhu-led administration suspended for 14 days, Uhuru, a daily owned by the ruling party.
The headline read, “Sina wazo kuwania urais 2025 -Samia (I Don’t Have Intentions to Contest for Presidency in 2025 – Samia).”
Mr Msigwa dismissed the headline as misleading saying, “(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.”