Tanzania | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Although the constitution provides for freedom of speech, several other laws limit the ability of the media to function effectively. Authorities are empowered to register and ban newspapers under the Newspaper Registration Act, while the Broadcasting Services Act provides for state regulation of the electronic media and the National Security Act allows the government to control the dissemination of information to the public. In May, independent journalist George Maziku faced criminal defamation charges after writing an article that allegedly "misrepresented" the intentions of parliament. Under the island of Zanzibar's separate and more restrictive media policies, journalists must be licensed and the state tightly controls the broadcast media. However, in December, journalists launched the weekly Dira, Zanzibar's first private newspaper. Reporters continue to face some harassment at the hands of authorities, particularly in Zanzibar, and a number practice self-censorship. Nevertheless, independent media outlets as well as the state-owned newspaper criticize official policies, although the government occasionally pressures outlets to suppress unfavorable stories. Despite the high costs associated with establishing new broadcast media, dozens of private radio stations have been established in recent years.