Journos didn’t ‘fol­low rules’

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - NEWS - Mel Frykberg

Fol­low­ing an in­ter­na­tional out­cry and neg­a­tive me­dia head­lines in the wake of the ar­rest of South African and Kenyan jour­nal­ists, An­gela Quin­tal and Muthoki Mumo re­spec­tively, the Tan­za­nian au­thor­i­ties have at­tempted to jus­tify their de­ten­tion, claim­ing they mis­rep­re­sented their in­ten­tions for vis­it­ing, The Na­tion re­ported yes­ter­day.

Quin­tal and Mumo are with the Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists (CPJ).

The two were de­tained on Wed­nes­day by im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials while on a re­port­ing mis­sion for the CPJ. They were even­tu­ally re­leased to their ho­tel in the cap­i­tal, Dar es Salaam, but their pass­ports were with­held.

Fol­low­ing an out­cry, in­clud­ing from the US state depart­ment and the in­ter­ven­tion of South Africa’s depart­ment for in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and co­op­er­a­tion (Dirco), their pass­ports were re­turned and the women were al­lowed to leave the coun­try.

The crux of the im­mi­gra­tion depart­ment’s de­fence was that the jour­nal­ists, on ar­rival, did not in­form im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials that they were in the coun­try to carry out a jour­nal­ism in­ves­ti­ga­tion and that prior to call­ing lo­cal jour­nal­ists, they should have first called the au­thor­i­ties.

Im­mi­gra­tion spokesper­son Ally Mtanda said of­fi­cials had ar­rested the two women and ques­tioned them, adding: “They ar­rived in the coun­try on Oc­to­ber 31, 2018, through the Julius Ny­erere In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Dar es Salaam and they said the pur­pose of their trip was a nor­mal visit.

“How­ever, our of­fi­cials es­tab­lished that they started hold­ing meet­ings with lo­cal jour­nal­ists and that’s con­trary to the con­di­tions of their en­try per­mits.”

Mtanda said “if they were in­tend­ing to hold meet­ings with jour­nal­ists, then they should have called the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties be­fore they started do­ing those ac­tiv­i­ties”.

Con­firm­ing Quin­tal and Mumo had safely left Tan­za­nia, CPJ ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Joel Si­mon urged the Tan­za­nian au­thor­i­ties “to halt their on­go­ing crack­down against a free press. An­gela Quin­tal and Muthoki Mumo trav­elled to Tan­za­nia to un­der­stand the chal­lenges fac­ing the Tan­za­nian press and to in­form the global pub­lic.

“It is now abun­dantly clear to any­one who fol­lowed the lat­est de­vel­op­ments that Tan­za­nian jour­nal­ists work in a cli­mate of fear of in­tim­i­da­tion.” – ANA

If they were in­tend­ing to hold meet­ings with jour­nal­ists, then they should have called the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties.

Ally Mtanda Im­mi­gra­tion spokesper­son

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