Hopes Fade in Tanzania for Greater Press Freedom Under Hassan

Hopes Fade in Tanzania for Greater Press Freedom Under Hassan
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, Sept. 23, 2021 (pool photo by Spencer Platt via AP).

When Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in as president of Tanzania in March, journalists in the country felt a glimmer of hope. During her first weeks in office, Hassan ordered the reopening of media outlets that had been shut down by the authorities under her predecessor, John Magufuli.

“I have heard there are media that were banned,” Hassan said in remarks to government officials. “Reopen them, we should not give them room to say we are shrinking press freedom.”

Months later, Hassan met with editors and senior journalists, reiterating her commitment to support a more open media environment. Her comments came as a welcome change from the restrictive atmosphere under Magufuli, who died in March, officially due to a longstanding heart condition. 

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