“Bulldozing” the media

With the adoption of draconian legislation, the closure of media outlets and the expulsion of press freedom defenders, Tanzania has suffered an unprecedented decline in press freedom. Nicknamed the “Bulldozer,” John Magufuli has tolerated no criticism of himself or his policies since becoming president in 2015. In March 2017, he openly defended a governor who had stormed into a privately-owned radio station accompanied by policemen and forced it to broadcast a recording incriminating one of his opponents. By closing media outlets more than a dozen times in the past three years and by threatening to deprive privately-owned media of state advertising, the regime has created a climate of fear in which self-censorship is on the rise. Online information has also been reined in since the adoption of a draconian law under which websites and blogs have to pay exorbitant fees to register and get accreditation. Two press freedom defenders were arrested and expelled at the end of 2018. One of the cases they were working on was that of a Tanzanian journalist who went missing in November 2017 while investigating the murders of local officials. Asked about his disappearance, the interior minister said everyone had the right to disappear and the police were not obliged to intervene whenever someone decided to leave home.

in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index



93 in 2018

Global score


30.65 in 2018

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2020
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2020
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2020
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