A late night SOS on Facebook alerted friends, colleagues and her employers, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), that media activist and former South African journalist and editor, Angela Quintal, and her colleague, Muthoki Mumo, were being taken away for interrogation from their hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
“SOS we are being taken away for interrogation in Dar. We don’t know why. Taken away from Southern Sun Hotel,” Quintal’s Facebook post read.
After a night of uncertainty and conflicting accounts, News24 reported just after 7.30am this morning, that Quintal and her colleague, Mumo, were safe and back at their hotel, albeit without their passports. This was confirmed by the Department of International Relations to News24.
Speaking to News24 on Thursday morning, spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said that while there is still much uncertainty about her detention, she and her colleague, Muthoki Mumo, were returned to their Dar es Salaam hotel at around 3am on Thursday.
Quintal is currently based in New York at CPJ headquarters. CPJ is a constant and vocal global lobby group fighting for the rights of press freedom across the world and Quintal is the programme coordinator for Africa. CPJ almost weekly highlights media abuses across the African continent.
Her late night Facebook post was followed by a Tweet allegedly declaring they had been released, which was quickly discounted by friends and colleagues who know her. This morning neither her Twitter nor Facebook accounts can be accessed.
According to Daily Maverick, Quintal is visiting Tanzania, a country where press freedom is threatened by President John Magufuli’s regime. Journalists have disappeared while others face suspensions, threats of violence, arrests and bans. Newspapers have been forcibly shut down.
In August 2018 the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) said at least five newspapers and two radio stations had been suspended for periods ranging from three to 36 months on pretexts including “false information”, “sedition” and “threatening national security”, reports Daily Maverick.
Authorities in Tanzania should immediately release Angela Quintal, Africa program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Muthoki Mumo, CPJ's sub-Saharan Africa representative, and return their passports, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement last night.
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.
"We are concerned for the safety of our colleagues Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo, who were detained while legally visiting Tanzania," said Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director. "We call on the authorities to immediately release them and return their passports."
Louise Marsland is currently Africa Editor: Bizcommunity.com; a Content Strategist and Trainer; and Trend Curator for Bizcommunity.com and her own TRENDAFRiCA.co.za. She has been writing about the media, marketing and advertising communications industry in South Africa for over 20 years, notably, as the previous Editor of Bizcommunity.com Media & Marketing; Editor-in-Chief AdVantage magazine; Editor Marketing Mix magazine; Editor Progressive Retailing magazine; Editor Business Brief magazine and Editor FMCG Files ezine.
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