Press Freedom: Tanzania president warns journalists

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Press Freedom: Tanzania president warns journalists

(Reuters/NAN) President John Magufuli of Tanzania warned the country’s journalists on Friday that there were limits to their press freedom and comments.

Magufuli gave the warning during the swearing in of new Information Minister Harrison Mwakyembe, who was appointed in a reshuffle.

He noted that some of the comments in the media could mean that his government was further narrowing the space for public criticism.

Critics said Mwakyembe’s predecessor Nape Nnauye was sacked as retribution for ordering a probe into an alleged raid on a private television station by a senior government official.

“I would like to tell media owners to be careful, watch it. If you think you have that kind of freedom, (it is) not to that extent,” Magufuli said.

He ordered Mwakyembe to clamp down on media organisations that publish or broadcast material deemed to incite unrest, saying his government would not allow a few individuals to destabilise East Africa’s second-biggest economy, which is home to 50 million people.

Magufuli, nicknamed “the Bulldozer” for his strict leadership style, has dismissed dozens of senior public officials over allegations of corruption and inefficiency since he was elected in late 2015 as part of a reform drive.

Opponents accuse him of becoming increasingly authoritarian, undermining democracy and cracking down on dissent. He however, denied the allegations.

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