FCAEA Statement on the Arrests of Tanzanian Journalists

FCAEA Statement on the Arrests of Tanzanian Journalists

(24 AUGUST 2019 – NAIROBI, Kenya) The Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa (FCAEA) strongly condemns the recent arrests of Tanzanian journalists and the concerning decline in press freedom in the country.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa is extremely concerned by the recent arrest of Tanzanian investigative journalist Joseph Gandye of Watetezi TV on August 22, 2019.According to the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition, which owns Watetezi TV, Gandye had been reporting on police brutality in the Iringa region.

Gandye’s detainment comes only weeks after the arrest of prominent investigative journalist Erick Kabendera, who was forcibly taken from his home on July 31, 2019. Kabendera had been reporting on the country’s upcoming presidential elections, and disputes within the ruling political party for both local and foreign outlets. Kabendera remains in jail on multiple criminal counts, including organized crime.

The FCAEA echoes the concerns of human rights activists, who say the arrests of both Gandye and Kabendera are in retaliation to their reporting on the Tanzanian government.The arrests come amid a concerning decline of press freedom and free speech in Tanzania. According to local reports, multiple news outlets in Tanzania have been either suspended, banned, or otherwise shut down in recent years. This has created a climate of suspicion not only for journalists, but for their sources.

We urge the Government of Tanzania to protect press freedom and the rights of free speech, which are enshrined in its constitution.The FCAEA also urges the international community to continue raising the importance of press freedom in Tanzania and to maintain calls for the immediate release of both Joseph Gandye and Erick Kabendera.

Sincerely,

The FCAEA Board

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