Tanzania acquits 3 journalists for sedition
30 January 2014, 09:33
Dar es Salaam - A Tanzanian court acquitted three
journalists on Wednesday charged with publishing a seditious article against
the East African country's government two years ago for lack of evidence.
"The prosecution has miserably failed to prove its
case. I hereby acquit the accused persons," Magistrate Warialwande Lema
The three were prosecuted in November 2011 for writing an
article in which they said the police backed the ruling party at the expense of
the opposition, which the prosecution claimed was a call to the police not to
recognise the authority of the government.
The three were Samson Mwigamba, who had worked at the
newspaper Tanzania Daima (Tanzania Forever), his editor Absalom Kibanda and
Theophil Makunga of the publishing business Mwananchi Communication.
"We thank the court for proving that journalists are
free to express their views for the purpose of educating members of the
public," Kibanda said, speaking after the verdict on Wednesday. "This
is our duty, and we must do it without fearing anybody."
The Committee to Protect Journalists warned last year
that journalists in Tanzania face increasing threats and lack government
Kibanda, in an incident unrelated to his trial, was last
year attacked by unknown assailants at his house, in which he was blinded in
one eye and had part of a finger hacked off.
Tanzania's ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM,
Revolutionary Party) has been in power for decades.