Tanzanian weekly says govt ignoring court order to lift ban

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A Tanzanian weekly newspaper on Sunday accused the government of ignoring a court ruling allowing it to resume publication two years after it was banned for “publishing incitements and false news”.

The East African Court of Justice last month said Tanzania must immediately overturn the publication ban placed on the Mseto newspaper after it published allegations that President John Magufuli’s successful election campaign in 2015 had been partly financed through corrupt means.

The information ministry has yet to overturn the ban despite the ruling that the newspaper had not “violated the public interest, or the interest of peace and good order” and that the ban is “in violation of the right of freedom of expression”.

The owner of the paper, Saed Kubenea -- who is also an opposition lawmaker -- accused the government in a press conference of “deliberately delaying the implementation of the ruling”.

Lawyer Fulgence Massawe, who represented Mseto, said they would file an application demanding the immediate implementation of the judgement.

There was no immediate response from Tanzanian authorities.

Since his election, Magufuli has closed several critical newspapers while rights groups have protested against the imposition of new restrictive laws on freedom of expression.

Pressure group Reporters Without Borders ranked Tanzania 93rd out of 180 countries worldwide in its 2018 World Press Freedom Index, down 10 places on the previous year.

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