The brief arrest of two members of the international non-governmental organisation Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo, in Tanzania last week serves as a depressing reminder of the gradual descent into authoritarianism of one of Africa’s most promising countries. Quintal, the Africa programme co-ordinator, and Mumo, the sub-Saharan Africa representative of the CPJ, were released after a harrowing episode in which they were detained for no apparent reason, driven to a remote area of the economic capital Dar es Salaam and questioned by what were apparently state security operatives. The trip by the duo was not secret since the CPJ does not operate in a clandestine way. It was in fact sanctioned by the state-recognised Media Council of Tanzania. It was primarily a networking and fact-finding mission to gauge media freedom in President John Magufuli’s Tanzania, and what they discovered first-hand reflects widespread media repression and an increasingl...

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