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ZA KISWAHILI

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The Media Council of Tanzania has hailed the ruling by the High Court to lift the indefinite ban imposed on the weekly investigative newspaper, Mwanahalisi since July 2012.

Both the President of the Governing Board rtd Justice Thomas Mihayo and MCT Executive Secretary Kajubi Mukajanga have expressed highest appreciation on the landmark judgment on press freedom and freedom of expression and congratulated Mwanahalisi newspaper for the victory.

High court judge, Justice Salvatory Bongole , in the historic ruling on September 4, 2015 said the minister for information breached procedures for banning the newspaper as it was not given the right to be heard.

Reacting to the court decision, Mukajanga said that Justice has been served and “I think this should be a warning to all those who want to use obsolete laws to suppress press freedom and other basic freedoms entrenched in the constitution”.

He said the option of the court has always been there although stakeholders have at many times hesitated to take it due to the fact that it takes a long time in Tanzania.

Mihayohalihalisi

“ Considering the fact that now we have spent years trying to get the right laws, probably the fact that the court option takes longer does not hold water because the other option that is advocacy campaign has also proved to take very long too”, he said.

He said the Council is very glad and hails the court for having served justice that “our intention now is to seriously look into the possibility to challenging in court of law all the laws which impinge on freedom of expression”.

“We always thought that it took long in court etc… etc…but this has taught us that even if you do not go to court and take the advocacy approach it even takes long … it has proved so…that is our thinking”, Mukajanga said .

“ We are very glad and congratulate Mwanahalisi for the victory and ask them to concentrate on their work bearing in mind ethics and highest professional standards.

He emphasized that the media should be ethical and exhibit high standards pointing out that is the best deterrent against government clampdown while the council and other stakeholders challenge the laws.

On his part Justice Mihayo   said the judgment would serve as a notice to the government on handling the media.

He said that the 1976 Newspaper Act that has been used to ban newspapers does not even provide benchmarks to the minister for taking such action adding that it simply depends on the whims of the minister.

He reminded that he has always been urging media to take the court option as the existing laws contravene the constitution and basic human rights.

It is unfortunate, he said, even the outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete has failed to fulfill his promise to ensure right laws for the media are in place despite promising so during the 2011 Excellence in Journalism Awards gala night held early 2012.

After Mwanahalisi was banned , the publishers – Mwanahalisi company began producing it on line and started another paper with the title Mawio ostensibly to fill the void left by the banned popular newspaper.

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