World, Africa

Rights groups accuse Tanzania of repression, censorship

Rights groups urge Tanzania to drop charges against journalists, politicians arrested for using freedom of expression right

Andrew Wasike   | 28.10.2019
Rights groups accuse Tanzania of repression, censorship

NAIROBI, Kenya

The Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday released reports accusing Tanzania’s President John Magufuli of repression against activists, critics, and opponents.

Tanzania has flouted freedoms of association and expression, undermining both media freedoms and civil society, said the HRW at a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, on Monday.

Lawmakers in Tanzania, led by the president, have openly made some statements on rights issues, followed by crackdowns on individuals and organizations seen as critical of the government policy, it added.

The Magufuli government is ruthlessly disemboweling the country’s human rights framework with oppressive laws being used to clamp down on dissent, Roland Ebole, Amnesty International’s Tanzania researcher, said.

"Our report shows that human rights organizations are being prevented from carrying out their work in Tanzania.

"The report details that media houses are frustrated about what they are reporting on, and others are being closed down," he told Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the press conference.

"We see a dangerous repressive trend escalating in Tanzania, as the authorities are denying citizens' right to information by administering only those truths sanctioned by the state."

The HRW report -- titled As Long as I Am Quiet, I Am Safe: Threats to Independent Media and Civil Society in Tanzania, and Amnesty International’s report -- titled The Price We Pay: Targeted for Dissent by the Tanzanian State -- further stated that the attacks on the rights to freedom of expression and association and media freedom in Tanzania is "worrying".

Oryem Nyeko, Africa researcher at the HRW, said that Tanzania should show true commitment to protecting and fulfilling the rights to freedom of expression and association.

"The authorities need to put a stop to harassment, intimidation, and arbitrary arrests of activists, journalists, and opposition members."

The rights groups called on Tanzania to drop all charges against journalists and politicians arrested for exercising their rights to free expression and association.

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