Tanzanian journalist arrested for ‘fake news’

Joseph Gandye, who works for Watetezi TV, a station created last year by the Tanzanian Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (THRDC), was arrested.

The THRDC issued a statement condemning the arrest of Gandye, saying he was detained in a police station in Dar es Salaam. Watetezi TV on his Twitter account pointed out that the journalist was driven Friday to Iringa, central Tanzania.

He reported to Iringa earlier in August for Watetezi TV on allegations of police ill-treatment of suspects in detention. The THRDC said that Iringa police responded to the report by issuing a warning that it would not tolerate any “false and misleading reports aimed at degrading the image of the Tanzanian police and the government as a whole.”

“I ordered the Chief Intelligence Officer to monitor people who mislead and spread false information, and once they are caught red-handed, a lawsuit should be brought”, said Juma Bwire, the commander of the Iringa Regional Police.

Tanzanian journalist arrested for ‘fake news’
©WATETEZITV – Joseph Gandye reporter at Watetezi TV

A month ago, journalist Erick Kabendera was arrested. He is still in detention, and his treatment raised as a matter of concern by the United States and United Kingdom embassies in Tanzania.

Since President John Magafuli came to power, nicknamed “the bulldozer”, in 2015, media laws are tightened, and several newspapers and radio stations suspended for “incitement”. He has often warned against fake news after critical articles about the government, saying there are obstacles to press freedom.

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