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Monday, January 20, 2020

Detained Tanzania journalist charged with sedition

Top investigative Tanzanian journalist Erick Kabendera, who was arrested on Monday, is to be charged with sedition, his lawyer has said.

Jebra Kambol said in a statement that the police first questioned his client over his citizenship even though he holds a Tanzanian passport.

He was then passed over to the cyber crime unit for interrogation, the lawyer said.

Kabendera is now being charged with sedition in connection with an article published in The Economist about the East African nation’s president entitled: John Magufuli is bulldozing Tanzania’s freedom, Mr Kambol said.

If you search for the article online, it now links to an Economist piece published on Thursday called Another critic of President John Magufuli is silenced.

“Erick has been denied police bail despite the fact that bail is a constitutional right in Tanzania,” Mr Kambol said, adding that officers had been sent on Friday to search the journalist’s house.

Since Mr Magafuli, nicknamed “The Bulldozer”, came to office in 2015, laws overseeing the media have been toughened and a number of newspapers and radio stations have been suspended for “incitement”.

He has often warned about fake news in the wake of articles critical of the government, saying there are limits to press freedom.

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