Journalists in Tanzania 'threatened, attacked'

Journalists in Tanzania face increasing threats and lack government protection, with at least ten attacks against the media in the past year, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.

"Despite Tanzania's reputation for transparency and democracy, its citizens are being denied vital information," the New York-based CPJ warned in a report criticising "a rise in anti-press attacks set against a backdrop of repressive laws."

The CPJ documented 10 "serious anti-press attacks and threats" since September 2012.

Those include the killing of cameraman Daudi Mwangosi, hit by a tear-gas canister while covering demonstrations in September, and the severe beating of editor Absalom Kibanda in March, in which he was blinded in one eye and had part of his finger hacked off.

"The deterioration of press conditions has coincided with jitters among members of a ruling party unused to criticism and unaccustomed to political challenge," said CPJ report author Tom Rhodes.

Tanzania's ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM, Revolutionary Party) has been in power for decades.

There was no immediate response from the authorities.

"The government of Tanzania's crackdown on freedom of the press and expression is a clear sign that it feels threatened ahead of the 2015 presidential and parliamentary elections," Rhodes added.

The CPJ said that while Tanzania's government has pledged to reform media laws, little has been put into practice.