Tanzanian president lifts ban on media

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NAIROBI, Kenya 

Media houses in Tanzania that had been closed, banned or denied licenses to operate by the former government will now be allowed to reopen, the county’s president announced on Tuesday.

In a move hailed as a positive future for press freedom in Tanzania, President Samia Suluhu ordered the Information Ministry to lift the ban on media outlets mainly for criticizing the former government.

Speaking at the State House in the capital Dar-es-Salaam, Suluhu said that as long as the media respect law and guidelines, they will be allowed to operate.

“I am told you revoked licenses of some media outlets, including some online television stations. You should lift the ban but tell them to follow the law and government guideline,” the president ordered the ministry.

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), the country’s media regulatory body, has in the past tightened the noose on press freedom in the country.

According to a report by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Tanzania became “increasingly authoritarian” after John Magufuli became president in 2015. None of the 180 countries ranked in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index has suffered such a precipitous decline in recent years.

COVID-19 task force

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu announced that her country will set up a COVID-19 task force to deal with the disease.

“On the issue of COVID-19, I think I should form a committee of experts to look at it professionally and then advise the government.

“We cannot isolate ourselves as if we are an Island, but also we cannot accept everything brought to us,” daily The Citizen quoted Suluhu as saying.

The late Tanzanian president, John Pombe Magufuli, who died on March 17 at the age of 61 had urged Tanzanians not to observe measures put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, declaring the disease eradicated from his country.

He urged Tanzanians not to seek COVID-19 vaccines and just to inhale herbal-infused steam to protect themselves from the disease, including the coronavirus.

His administration also refused to share data on COVID-19 infections since May 2020, prompting nations from across the globe to warn their nationals against traveling to Tanzania, citing a high risk of contracting the disease.

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