14 Mar 2013

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Tanzanian journalists under attack

Journalists in Tanzania are being intimidated by beatings, harassment and death threats. In the latest example, Absalom Kibanda, editor of the newspaper Mtanzania (The Tanzanian), was attacked outside his home and suffered serious head injuries.
He was taken to hospital in Dar-Es-Salaam but the gravity of his injuries may require him to be flown to South Africa for special treatment.
Kibanda, who is chairman of the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), is also the managing editor of the Swahile daily Tanzania Daima. The attack is thought to be related to his journalistic work.
TEF secretary general Meena Neville said: "They probably just want silence him through torture and intimidation".
The assault on Kibanda comes weeks after two other disturbing incidents. In the first, Scottish police informed a UK-based Tanzanian journalist, Evarist Chahali, that they had uncovered death threats against him.
In the second, journalist Erick Kabendera has been subjected to episodes of harassmentapparently in retaliation for having testified against his former employer, the Tanzanian media mogul, Reginald Mengi, in a UK libel case in November last year.
His home in Tanzania has been burgled three times; officials have interrogated his elderly parents about their right to be Tanzanian citizens; and the couple were also told their son was under scrutiny for selling secrets to European powers.
Kabendera worked for a period in Britain in 2009 on The Times and The Independentthrough the David Astor journalism awards trust. His case has been highlighted by the former UK high commissioner to Kenya, Sir Edward Clay.
These three instances follow the murder of two journalists in separate incidents in late 2012 - Daud Mwangosi and Issa Ngumba - and last year's closure of the newspaper MwanaHalisi.
Sources: Article 19/African Arguments In Swahili: Raimwema


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