Tanzanian Government Limits International Media Coverage of Upcoming Elections

President John Pombe Magufuli has tightened his grip on media by passing a set of laws that limit international media coverage of upcoming elections. Magufuli, who is running for president again, has officially banned international media from broadcasting news made without the government’s approval. The Tanzanian Communications Regulatory Authority announced the new laws which will affect collaborative media reportage between domestic and international news outlets.


READ: Tanzania Has Made It Illegal to Plan and Support Protests Online

Tanzania’s elections are set to take place towards the end of October this year and has resulted in incremental censoring of media by President Magufuli. The latest regulations require that media broadcasters first seek permission from the government within seven days of their desired coverage. Additionally, international media teams are required to have a government-appointed representative during the coverage. Local journalists have called the move an infringement on human rights and journalistic freedom. Further government regulations have imposed a ban on registered Tanzanian media outlets who frequently collaborate with international media for broadcasts.

Tanzanian journalist Fred Muvunyi, who works for German news platform DW, says that he has “never seen or heard anything like this in [his] life as a journalist.”

Governments shutting down internet connections, banning public demonstrations, suppressing media freedom and silencing dissenting views from citizens has been ongoing in Africa. Recently, Algerian journalist Drareni Khaled was sentenced to three years in prison for covering anti-government protests in the country. #ZimbabweanLivesMatter was sparked by the government’s violent response to public demonstrations in addition to the mass arrest of activists, opposition leaders and citizens.

Additionally, the Ivory Coast also passed a law that bans public protest during elections. The Somalian, Ethiopian and Burundian governments have in the past, shut down internet access as a way in which to thwart public protests. While Amnesty International and the United Nations have condemned a number of African heads-of-state for infringing on human rights, it has had little effect.