AmaBhungane is gravely concerned about the arrest and detention of CPJ Africa Programme coordinator, Angela Quintal and her CPJ colleague Muthoki Mumo by Tanzanian officials.
Angela Quintal is a board member of amaBhungane and a former editor of the Mail & Guardian.
In a series of social media posts on Wednesday evening Quintal informed her followers that she and Mumo were being detained.
Quintal and Mumo are in Tanzania as part of a CPJ mission.
According to the South African department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco), the two have today been released back to their hotel in Dar Es Salaam, but without their passports.
It is not confirmed whether their release without their passports means charges against them remain in place.
Dirco said SA’s High Commissioner Mr Thami Mseleku was meeting with them to discuss last night’s events. He will then engage Tanzanian authorities.
The 2018 World Press Freedom Index reports that media freedom in Tanzania has deteriorated since John Magufuli, nicknamed the Bulldozer, came into power in 2015. Journalists, bloggers and activists in the country and have faced harassment and arrest.
Magufali has also enacted a number of draconian laws, including the highly criticised 2015 Cybercrimes Act, which makes its lawful for authorities to conduct surveillance without judicial oversight.
The crackdown on journalists and free and independent media is is seen as part of an overall decline of human rights situation in Tanzania under the Magufuli administration.
AmaBhungane chair Professor Tawana Kupe said: “CPJ is a critically important organisation that promotes the protection of journalists whose role in defending, sustaining and deepening democracy is necessary for our continent and Tanzania’s development. Needless to say journalists and the media are critical to the realisation of freedom of expression which is a universal human value protected in various declarations, protocols and constitutions without which we cannot realise democracy and sustainable development.”
AmaBhungane calls for the unconditional release of Quintal and Mumo and for an urgent review of draconian legislation in Tanzania.