Former Mail & Guardian editor Angela Quintal and her colleague Muthoki Mumo were detained by Tanzanian authorities on Sunday evening.
Quintal is the Africa Program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and Mumo is the organisation’s Sub-Saharan Africa representative.
In a post on her Facebook page, Quintal said: “SOS we are being taken away for interrogation in Dar. We don’t know why.
Taken Away from Southern Sun Hotel.”
According to a statement released by CPJ: “Officers who identified themselves as working with the Tanzanian immigration authority detained Quintal and Mumo in their hotel room in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this evening, according to Quintal.
The officials searched the pair’s belongings and would not return their passports when asked. Quintal and Mumo were then escorted from the hotel and have been taken to an unknown location. They were in the country on a reporting mission for CPJ.”
CPJ’s executive director Joel Simon has called for their immediate release. “We are concerned for the safety of our colleagues Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo, who were detained while legally visiting Tanzania. We call on the authorities to immediately release them and return their passports.”
Press freedom has come under attack in Tanzania under the administration of President John Magufuli. As the International Press Institute reported in August: “Press freedom in Tanzania has drifted into an unprecedented crisis under Magufuli’s regime. According to the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), at least five newspapers and two radio stations have been suspended for periods ranging from three to 36 months on pretexts including ‘false information’, ‘sedition’ and ‘threatening national security’. One paper decided to suspend publication itself after publishing a story it feared might irritate officials.There have also been more violent incidences of harassment.”