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Three Tanzanian NGOs file suit at regional court over press law

By AFP

Added 13th March 2018 07:30 PM

The East Africa Court of Justice, based in Arusha, Tanzania, came into force in 2000

Paper 703x422

The East Africa Court of Justice, based in Arusha, Tanzania, came into force in 2000

Three Tanzanian NGOs on Tuesday filed a complaint at the East Africa Court of Justice over a 2016 law that they argue violates press freedom.

The Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), Legal and Human Rights Centre, and Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition said in their complaint that the law "violates" international conventions ratified by the East African Community (EAC) regional bloc, according to MCT executive secretary Kajubi Mwakajanga.

The law in question is criticised by the media community for being too vague in its definition of what constitutes a journalist, with bloggers or anyone posting information on social media sites included.

The law requires journalists to register themselves as such, which critics argue is a restriction on freedom of expression.

The legislation also replaced independent oversight mechanisms by an organ controlled by the government.

The East Africa Court of Justice, based in Arusha, Tanzania, came into force in 2000 to ensure adherence to the laws establishing the six-nation EAC, made up of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

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