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AFP
August 25, 2019

Tanzanian journalist released after arrest over ‘false’ news

World

AFP
August 25, 2019

NAIROBI: A Tanzanian journalist arrested for “publishing false information” after broadcasting a story about police brutality was released on Saturday, his lawyer said.

Joseph Gandye, who works for local station Watetezi TV, was arrested in the financial capital Dar es Salaam on Thursday after airing a story on August 9 about police in the central city of Iringa forcing six young detainees to sodomise each other.

“He has just been released on bail by the police in Iringa,” his lawyer Jones Sendodo told AFP.

The Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition, which founded Watetezi TV last year, defended its journalist, saying the report gave all sides involved a chance to respond, including the police officers.

Gandye’s arrest comes less than a month after another Tanzanian journalist, Erick Kabendera, was detained in circumstances condemned by rights groups.

Accusations of “sedition” and other vague offences have been levelled against journalists and media houses under President John Magufuli, who has been criticised for his authoritarian leadership style.

Magufuli has shut down newspapers, banned opposition rallies, switched off live broadcasts of parliamentary sessions and used the cybercrimes law to jail critics.

Azory Gwanda, a Tanzanian journalist and government critic who disappeared in 2017, has never been found.

Reporters Without Borders has labelled Magufuli a “press freedom predator” and dropped Tanzania 25 places on its annual press freedom index this year.

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