(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - London, 14.03.11 - In its submission to the UN Human Rights Council filed today, ARTICLE 19 called upon the United Republic of Tanzania to improve its compliance with international freedom of expression standards. ARTICLE 19's submission highlights Tanzania's restrictive legislation regarding the media and freedom of expression; the lack of a comprehensive access to information legislation; frequent attacks on journalists, human rights defenders and media workers.
Although the right to freedom of expression is guaranteed in the Tanzanian Constitution, there is ample evidence that it is not sufficiently implemented in domestic legislation or practice.
Restrictive legislation includes the 1976 Newspaper Act and the 1979 National Security Act, both major impediments to the freedom of the media in the country. These pieces of legislation should be fully repealed and replaced by legislation in line with international human rights standards. The 1945 Penal Code criminalises the use of abusive and insulting language likely to cause a breach of peace, as well as defamation and insult, and imposing severe sentences for violations. Despite some support in favour of media freedom expressed by the president, the Tanzanian authorities have abused the powers granted to them by certain restrictive laws.
ARTICLE 19 also wishes to express concerns about a number of cases where journalists and media workers were attacked for carrying out their journalistic activities, and where the authorities have failed to investigate the violations and bring the perpetrators to justice. We are concerned that semi-autonomous Zanzibar remains more restrictive than the mainland and Tanzania lacks freedom of information legislation.
ARTICLE 19 calls upon the union government of Tanzania and its Zanzibar counterpart to address these shortcomings and to work together to adopt and implement a comprehensive programme of freedom of expression reform, which embraces both the mainland and Zanzibar. The submission also lists specific recommendations to the UN HRC to rise with the Tanzanian government during the review.
Click below to download the submission:
tanzania-upr-submission.pdf (129 KB)