March 24, 2017 / 3:58 PM / 2 years ago

Tanzania's president warns journalists that press freedom has limits

Tanzania's President John Magufuli addresses a news conference during his official visit to Nairobi, Kenya October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzania’s President John Magufuli warned the country’s journalists on Friday that there were limits to their press freedom, comments that will add to opposition concern that his government is further narrowing the space for public criticism.

Magufuli made the remarks during the swearing in of new Information Minister Harrison Mwakyembe, who was appointed in a reshuffle.

Critics said Mwakyembe’s predecessor Nape Nnauye was sacked as retribution for ordering a probe into an alleged raid on a private television station by a senior government official.

“I would like to tell media owners - be careful, watch it. If you think you have that kind of freedom, (it is) not to that extent,” Magufuli said.

He ordered Mwakyembe to clamp down on media organizations that publish or broadcast material deemed to incite unrest, saying his government would not allow a few individuals to destabilize east Africa’s second-biggest economy, which is home to 50 million people.

Magufuli, nicknamed “the Bulldozer” for his strict leadership style, has dismissed dozens of senior public officials over allegations of corruption and inefficiency since he was elected in late 2015 as part of a reform drive.

Opponents accuse him of becoming increasingly authoritarian, undermining democracy and cracking down on dissent. He denies the allegations.

Reporting by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Alison Williams

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