Respect for press freedom in Tanzania seemed to be increasing. There were fewer abuses in 2002 and the Swahili-language publications, which traditionally have been at greater risk than the English-language ones, had a relatively peaceful year.
A new weekly, Dira, was launched in Zanzibar in December. It was the first privately-owned newspaper to be produced in the off-shore archipelago since the 1964 revolution that led to the creation of Tanzania. Zanzibar’s local government has been very hostile to the independent press in recent years and several journalists have been banned from the archipelago.
Two journalists arrested
George Maziku, a reporter with the newspaper Mwananchi, was briefly detained by police in April 2002 and then released on bail. He was accused of libelling and insulting the national assembly in a report claiming that the ruling party had manipulated the reform of the electoral law in order to enhance its chances in the next elections.
Abduel Kenge, a journalist with the independent weekly The Express, was detained for four hours on 21 May after trying to ask Vice-president Ali Mohammed Shein a question during a conference at Dar es Salaam university. A bodyguard stopped him from going up to the vice-president and asked two policemen to arrest him. Kenge was told he approached the vice-president in an "inappropriate manner."
Pressure and obstruction
An application by journalist Jenerali Ulimwengu to be naturalised as a Tanzanian citizen was rejected on 15 February 2002. A reporter for three newspapers that are very critical of the government, Rai, Mtanzania and The African, Ulimwengu was one of four persons who were told in 2001 that their Tanzanian citizenship had been withdrawn because they could not prove their parents’ nationality. All were advised to apply for naturalisation and the requests of the other three were approved. Ulimwengu had written about corruption scandals implicating senior government officials. A number of local and foreign journalists were barred from Dar es Salaam airport on 3 July when they went there with the aim of putting a few questions to visiting British international development minister Clare Short. In particular, they wanted to ask her about a much criticised accord between the Tanzanian government and a British firm for the purchase of a flight monitoring system described as obsolete and overpriced by some international experts.