Tanzania issues leading newspaper on currency report

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Tanzania has suspended a leading newspaper and website for a week, accusing it of reporting incorrect exchange rates.

The lawsuit against the Citizen newspaper follows growing complaints from opposition activists and civil society groups, which are said to take steps to suppress dissent and create barriers for journalists and rights activists.

Citizens have been accused of sharing false information in a recent article on the devaluation of the Tanzanian shilling.

According to the US dollar, the US dollar was sold at 2 415 Tanzanian shillings, compared to 2 300 against the central bank rate, according to surveys in exchange bureaus and banks.

The Statistics Act of 2017 prohibits any publication of statistical information contrary to the official figures, with possible detention conditions for those who do so.

"They purposely published false and misleading information so that the Tanzanians believe the Tanzanian shilling has lost value over the last three years," the media admissions agency said in a letter sent Wednesday to the owners of Mwananchi Communications.

President John Magufuli has made a name in the fight against corruption after winning the elections in 2015, but criticism from the opposition is mounting, which is supposedly a crackdown on human rights.

The containment of foreign exchange regulations meant that the US dollar became increasingly scarce. In the northern tourist town of Arusha, at the foot of the ice-covered Kilimanjaro, many bureaux de change closed last year.

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