He Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) is alarmed and saddened by the murder of senior TV journalist Daudi Mwangosi on Sunday 2 September 2012 in Tanzania.
Daudi Mwangosi, who worked for Channel Ten as a TV reporter, died in Nyololo Village of the Iringa Region of Tanzania after being struck by a gas canister as police dispersed a crowd at a rally staged by an opposition political party, Chadema cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Party for Democracy and Progress).
This was after Chadema earlier launched a branch office in another village. But when they arrived at Nyololo, the police asked people to disperse because rallies and demonstrations had been “banned”. Police reportedly started to use teargas canisters, one of which hit the Channel Ten journalist who was about 100 metres from the new Chadema office where people had gathered to witness the launch. His stomach was ripped open and he died on the spot. The fight between the police and furious opposition party members lasted about 30 minutes. Police allegedly fired live ammunition to disperse the crowd, which reportedly refused to disperse, and instead, convened at the party’s office.
“We condemn the murder of Daudi Mwangosi and call on Tanzanian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Omar Faruk Osman, EAJA Secretary General. “This is a terrible tragedy, both for Mwangosi’s family and for the journalist community in Tanzania”.
In July, the government suspended MwanaHalisi newspaper indefinitely, under the 1976 Newspaper Act, which allows the Minister of Information to do this without even requiring the Minister to justify his/her decision. This Act has been the subject of regular complaints by the independent media for many years. The Ministry did explain its reasons in a statement: it was “due to the paper’s practice of writing inflammatory, hostile and false news and opinion with the intention of causing citizens to lose faith in state organs, a situation that could put at risk the peace and cohesion that prevails in the country”.
“The decision to close MwanaHalisi is intolerable. The government is apparently continuing to curb press freedom with the aim of closing journalists’ mouths so that they don’t speak the truth about bad things that are done in current system of governance and society of Tanzania,” added Osman. “Suspension on MwanaHalisi must be lifted immediately as it has no legal basis in any way or form”.
Mwangosi is the ninth media worker to be murdered in this year in Eastern Africa following eight media killings in Somalia.