By John Ikani
Tanzania has lifted a ban on four newspapers suspended when the late President John Magufuli was in power.
The four – Mwanahalisi, Mawio, Mseto and Tanzania Daima – had their licences suspended for various reasons, including publishing ‘false stories’.
They were regarded as being ‘critical’ of Mr. Magufuli, who took office after winning elections in 2015 and again in 2020.
President Samia Suluhu, who took over after Mr Magufuli’s death in March last year, has pledged to maintain media freedom – a marked takeoff from her predecessor.
She had previously lifted a ban imposed by Magufuli on some online television channels.
Experts say this marks another good step in the right direction for Tanzania’s media landscape.
However, Suluhu’s Government has also imposed its own restrictions on other newspapers, including the ruling party-owned newspaper, Uhuru, for publishing ‘false news’ against her.
Saed Kubenea, the Director of Hali Halisi publishers which owns some of the reinstated newspapers, said Thursday’s decision was encouraging.
“Nearly all these newspapers finished their punishments two or three years ago and also they won court cases. However, they were not allowed to go back to the market. But let bygones be bygones,” he said after receiving the licences.
Also welcoming the development, the owner of Mwanahalisi and Mseto thanked President Samia and promised to operate within the ethics and media laws.