UPDATE: SA journalist Angela Quintal, colleague left Tanzania safely - CPJ

2018-11-08 15:04
Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo. (Image supplied by CPJ)

Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo. (Image supplied by CPJ)

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South African journalist Angela Quintal and her Kenyan colleague Muthoki Mumo have safely left Tanzania after being detained, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement on its website.

Tanzanian authorities detained the pair on Wednesday night for reasons that are still unclear and released them in the early hours of Thursday.

CPJ executive director Joel Simon said Quintal and Mumo had traveled to Tanzania to understand the challenges faced by Tanzanian press and to inform the global public.

He said it was therefore deeply ironic that through their detaining, Tanzanian authorities had now made their work much easier. 

"It is now abundantly clear to anyone who followed the latest developments that Tanzanian journalists work in a climate of fear and intimidation," Simon said.

He said they were therefore calling on government of Tanzania to allow journalists to work freely.

Earlier on Thursday, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) confirmed that the pair's travel documents had been returned by the Tanzanian government.

"The High Commissioner of South Africa in Tanzania, Mr Thami Mseleku has informed the Minister of International Relations, Lindiwe Sisulu that passports of a South African journalist and that of her Kenyan colleague have been returned," the department said in a statement.

Mseleku had been instructed by Minister Sisulu to gather all facts around their detention and report back by the end of the day.

READ: SA journalist Angela Quintal, colleague back in their hotel in Tanzania, but without passports

"Following meetings with the Tanzanian authorities this morning the High Commissioner has indicated that the two journalists are now free to leave Tanzania," the department continued.

"The Minister thanked High Commissioner Mseleku, the team at the Dirco 24-hour call centre, diplomats from Kenya and Tanzania for resolving the matter speedily.

"We are happy that this matter has been resolved, the two journalists have their passports and they can travel today," Sisulu said.

Sisulu added that South Africans traveling abroad should make sure they know the number of Dirco's' 24-hour call centre - 012 351 1000 - and the addresses of the South African embassies in all countries where the country is represented.

Quintal is Africa programme co-ordinator at CPJ, and Muthoki Mumo is CPJ's sub-Saharan Africa representative.

Sanef 'deeply disturbed'

The South African National Editors' Forum meanwhile said it was "deeply disturbed" about the "worrying detention".

"After approximately five hours, Quintal and Mumo were then returned to their Dar es Salaam hotel, at around 03:00 - but without their passports.

"Details and reasons for the detention are still not clear. Also, it is unclear whether Tanzanian authorities have taken Quintal's phone. A number of her social media profiles [had] been deactivated," said Sanef on Thursday.

READ: Confusion over whether SA journalist Angela Quintal, colleague have been released after issuing SOS from Tanzania

Sanef also welcomed the speedy probe into the matter by the Department of International Relations (Dirco) and called on Dirco to exert pressure on their Tanzanian counterparts.

"Sanef believes these are very worrying developments. We need to urgently find out the reasons behind this detention. We believe the arbitrary detention of journalists is a direct and dangerous threat to media freedom and access to information," the forum said.

The Cape Town Press Club (CTPC) has also condemned the detention of the two journalists.

CTPC spokesperson Lalage Maurer said press club believed that the detention of Quintal and Mumo was a direct and dangerous threat to media freedom and access to information.

Maurer added the club was urging the national government to look into the matter as a priority and convey a strong message of disapproval to the Tanzanian government. 

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Read more on:    sanef  |  angela quintal  |  tanzania  |  media  |  media freedom

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