“Is this sanction proportionate?” The diplomatic response to attacks on media freedom in Tanzania

We’ve seen a display of unity from eight embassies / ambassadors / high commissioners to Tanzania today, responding the suspension of The Citizen newspaper with a series of tweets:


My favourite is the Dutch Ambassador, for injecting a little variety:


They all ask the same question: Is this sanction proportionate to the offence purportedly committed?

I have two reactions to this. First, can I suggest a more proportionate response that the government could have deployed? This might do: “We recognise the issue you’ve raised, we’re monitoring the value of the shilling and are ready to intervene as needed, thanks for keeping us on our toes.”

And second, I have a question for the diplomats. When a respectable newspaper is suspended for publishing info that’s already publicly available along with reasonable comments by recognised economists, your response is a coordinated series of gently-worded tweets. So I ask you: is this sanction proportionate?