President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Tuesday ordered the lifting of ban on all media houses in the country.
The President has instructed the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports to free media outlets that were banned and instead ensure they follow the rules set by the government.
This is seen as a major statement that could define her presidency as a democratic leader who has nothing against freedom of expression.
The president said “I am told you revoked licenses of some media outlets, including some online television stations. You should lift the ban but tell them to follow the law and government guidelines.”
President Hassan was speaking during an event to swear-in newly-appointed Permanent Secretaries at State House, Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.
She said by lifting the bans on some media outlets would make Tanzania more appealing to the rest of the world when it comes to free speech.
“But make sure that whoever is given a go ahead to operate a media company does follow the law of the country,” she said.
The regulations, the president said, must however be open and punishments issued by authorities must be in line with the specified offence.
“You must not ban just because you have the power to do so…Lift the bans but make sure they follow the government’s regulations and guidelines,” she said.
Tanzania laws in recent years have been considered repressive of the media with many news outlets being banned.
Freedom of expression
The new Tanzanian leader has also directed all regional governments to allow freedom of expression to allow the public to express their grievances without being intimidated.
President Hassan also warned that regional authorities that fail to tackle issues at local level risk being sacked.
“Usually when national leaders including myself, the vice President or the Prime Minister tour various regions in the country we are met with people with banners that express various grievances some which can be solved by the authorities available,” she said.
She added that “We will deal accordingly with anyone who prevents the people from expressing their views on challenges they are facing if it comes to my attention that they are prevented from airing them out.”