This is an unofficial translation of the government statement published yesterday. It is not an official translation so you are strongly advised to check the original Swahili if you need to be precise.
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Government statement on the suspension of publication of Mwananchi and Mtanzania newspapers
The government has suspended publication of MWANANCHI and MTANZANIA newspapers, from September 27 2013, in response to these papers’ practice of writing news and features that are inflammatory and hostile with the intention of causing citizens to lose confidence in state organs, and as such putting the country’s peace and cohesion in danger.
Publication of MWANANCHI newspaper has been suspended for 14 days from September 27, 2013. This penalty has been announced in Government Notice Number 333 of 27 September 2013.
Mwananchi newspaper has been given this penalty in response to recent publication of news articles that encourage breaches of the peace. For example July 17, 2013, in issue number 4774, the paper published an article saying “New government salaries, 2013” (Mishahara mipya serikalini 2013) and published a document that was not authorised for use by the media. This document was confidential and was not appropriate for publication in newspapers.
Further, in the issue of Saturday August 17, 2013, the paper published an article with the headline “Muslims pray under strict guard” (Waislamu wasali chini ya ulinzi mkali). This article was enhanced with a picture of a fierce and angry dog.
The article and this picture gave the impression that the Police Force had taken dogs to Islamic places of worship. This was not the truth.
The Police Force on patrol that day took no dogs to the areas of Mosques. The government and the Police Force respect and adhere to the morals of the Islamic religion, and therefore the Police could not take dogs around or into Muslim places of worship.
As such, for the newspaper to publish this article, enhanced with a picture of a dog, is inflammatory to create conflict between the Police Force and Muslim worshippers, for whom dogs are unclean and not supposed to enter places of worship.
Publication of MTANZANIA newspaper has been suspended for 90 days from September 27, 2013, for publishing inflammatory articles.
This newspaper has been warned on multiple occasions, told to correct its inflammatory style of reporting and to adhere to the ethics, law and principles of journalism.
In addition to these warning, the newspaper has not shown itself to follow the instructions of the Registrar of Newspapers. For example, in issue number 7262 of March 20, 2013, it wrote an article with the headline “President of Blood” (Urais wa damu). On June 12, 2013, issue number 7344, it published a feature saying “Revolution cannot be avoided” (Mapinduzi hayaepukiki.)
Further, on Wednesday September 18, 2013, in issue number 73414 [sic] the front page carried the headline “The government stinks of blood” (Serikali yanuka damu). This was enhanced with pictures joined together with great skill by computer, adding the colour red to indicate the spilling of a lot of blood.
In this article, this newspaper claimed without proof that the Police Force was involved in attacks on various victims who were hurt by unknown people with acid or attacked, beaten and badly injured.
In the same way, this newspaper accused the government of being inactive in following up on incidents of apparent terrorism.
Overall, this article is inflammatory, it has the objective of causing citizens to hate security and defence organs, so that they see these organs as unhelpful to them.
In response to the mistakes mentioned above, the government has suspended publication of Mtanzania newspaper for 90 days, in Government Notice No. 332 of 27 September 2013.
The government wants the owners, editors and journalists as a whole to ensure that the articles they write and the broadcasts they produce adhere to professional standards, to put the national interest first by having a high level of patriotism.
The government warns those media outlets that are using the freedom of the press irresponsibly that it will not hesitate to take firm measures, including to suspend them. The government will not accept to see the media as a source of a breaking the peace in the country.
Director, Department of Media,
Ministry of Media, Youth, Culture and Sports
September 28, 2013