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CPJ slams Tanzania over treatment of journalists

The CPJ’s Robert Mahoney says SADC must adhere to its treaty that commits member states to the principles of human rights, democracy and editorially independent media.

A pile of newspapers. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has slammed Tanzania, the host of Saturday’s SADC summit, as a persecutor of journalists.

The non-profit organisation says in its letter to the gathering that journalists operate in a very hostile environment in Tanzania but attacks on journalists have also been reported in the DRC, Mozambique, Zambia and Lesotho.

The CPJ’s Robert Mahoney says SADC must adhere to its treaty that commits member states to the principles of human rights, democracy and editorially independent media.

CPJ says Tanzania freelance journalist Azory Gwanda has been missing since 2017, and the government’s failure to provide accountability in his case has had a chilling effect on the local media.

Added to this, Erick Kabendera was arrested and charged with economic crimes in retaliation for his critical journalism.

It says during elections last December, authorities in the DRC blocked the signals of at least two broadcasters.

In Lesotho, a military spokesperson threatened an investigative journalist for articles she wrote about the demand for compensation by soldiers.

The CPJ has reminded SADC leaders that press freedom is essential to ensuring sustainable development and peace.

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