Tanzania drops on press freedom index

People read the papers Friday morning in Stone Town, Zanzibar. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

People read the papers Friday morning in Stone Town, Zanzibar. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Tanzania’s press freedom has dropped, but is still the best in East Africa, says Reporters Without Borders.

The annual Press Freedom Index has lowered Tanzania’s ranking by six positions, to 75 out of 180 countries.

Tanzania is still the best country for press freedom in East Africa.

Rwanda scores 161, Burundi 145, Kenya 100 and Uganda at 97.

The report looks at media independence, transparency, the environment in which journalists work, as well as abuses against journalists.

In this year’s report, Tanzania received 10.0 score on abuse, again scoring higher than other East African countries. Uganda scored 37.61, Kenya 34, Rwanda 33.32 and Burundi 17.92.

The report comes on the heels of Tanzania banning regional newspaper The EastAfrican from circulation in the country, alleging the paper has been doing the business without being properly registered.

Tanzania is still tied to archaic law, such as the Newspaper Act of 1976, which gives the government tremendous powers over media.

Almost traditionally, the top five positions of the report are dominated by the Scandinavian countries with Finland occupying the first position, for the fifth year in a row.

It is followed by Norway, Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden.

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