Source: Robert Besser

DODOMA, Tanzania: A second newspaper accused of spreading false news was temporarily closed in the East African nation of Tanzania, despite promises by President Samia Suluhu Hassan to uphold media freedoms stifled by her predecessor, John Magufuli.

In a statement, Government Chief Spokesperson Gerson Msigwa said the leading Swahili-language weekly newspaper, Raia Mwema, was closed for 30 days for “repeatedly publishing false information and deliberate incitement.”

Three recent stories were highlighted by Msigwa, including one about a gunman who killed four people in a rampage in Dar es Salaam’s diplomatic quarter.

The statement added that the article linked the gunman to the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi party, therefore, it violated a 2016 media law.

The newspaper’s management did not respond after requests for comment.

Last month, the first newspaper suspended under Hasan’s presidency was the Uhuru, owned by the Chama cha Mapinduzi party, which stated Hassan would not run for office in 2025, something the government claims is false.

After the temporary closing, the Uhuru’s board suspended three senior managers, including the CEO, due to their publishing the story, and began investigating the reason for the story’s publication, the Chama cha Mapinduzi party said.

Hassan took office in March after the death of Magufuli, who banned several newspapers during his six-year presidency, and was Africa’s most high-profile COVID-19 sceptic.

Shortly after taking office, Hassan called for the reopening of all media outlets banned by Magufuli.