NAIROBI - Authorities in Tanzania should lift a seven-day publication ban on the privately owned newspaper The Citizen and allow journalists to report on matters of public interest freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Saturday.
The information services department, which oversees newspaper licenses, temporarily suspended the publication license of The Citizen on February 27 on accusations that it published reports that were "false, misleading, and seditious", according to media reports, the CPJ said in a statement.
The suspension order related to an article on the state of Tanzanian democracy published in July and an article on the country's currency published last month, according to a report by The Citizen's sister publication Mwananchi.
The order extended to the newspaper's online publications. As of Friday, the CPJ was unable access The Citizen's website and its Twitter account had been deactivated. Reuters reported that The Citizen did "not appear on newsstands on [February 28]", the CPJ statement said
"Tanzania is sending a troubling message that public debate on critical matters is a punishable offense. Unfortunately, media shutdowns have become all-too familiar as President John Magufuli's government relentlessly tries to silence the free press," CPJ sub-Saharan Africa representative Muthoki Mumo said.