Nilikuwa nasoma hukumu ya kesi ya Regnald Mengi dhidi ya Sarah Hermitage iliyosomwa mwishoni mwaka jana kwenye mahakama moja nchini Uingereza. Mengi alishindwa hii kesi na kutakiwa kulipa faini kubwa. Katika kesi hii kuna ushahidi ulitolewa mahakamani kuwa wahariri wa vyombo vya habari vya Regnald Mengi wamepigwa marufuku kuandika habari zinazomkosoa Rais Kikwete.
Kuna memo moja ililetwa mahakamani kama ushahidi na pia ushahidi wa Erick Kabendera, mwandishi wa zamani wa IPP, kuwa ni marufuku kuandika habari zinazomkosoa Rais Kikwete. Indaiwa kuwa ushahidi wa Erick Kabendera alioutoa mahakamani tayari umehatarisha usalama wake na wa familia yake. Things fall apart in Tanzania: on media manipulation and hypocrisy
Hii ni sehemu ya hukumu ya mahakama ambapo jaji alizungumzia ushahidi wa kutoandika habari za kumkosoa Rais Kikwete kwenye magazeti vyombo vya habari vya Mengi.
87. The hollowness of the pretence that the editorial teams at Mr Mengi’s newspapers exercise robust independence at all times is illustrated by a memorandum of 16th October 2008 from Mr Kiondo Mshana, Managing Director of the Guardian, to Sakina Datoo, then IPP Print Media Group’s Editorial Director. Headed “Publication of stories on the President”, and copied to Mr Nguma in his capacity as a director of The Guardian Ltd, the memo read:
“You will recall my having officially notified you recently that it is absolutely necessary for my advice to be sought before any of The Guardian Limited publications runs controversial or any otherwise sensitive stories on President Jakaya Kikwete.
I told you that I must actually see the copy in question before it goes to print or, in case circumstances make that impossible, that I be contacted by telephone so that I can advice as appropriate.
I take this opportunity to state that this remains the Company’s official stand and that all editors are obliged to observe it without fail. Doing so has many advantages. Please, ensure no-one defaults on this. Many thanks for your understanding and cooperation.”
88. The next day Mr Mshana was slapped down by Mr Nguma, who wrote:
“In my view, this is direct interference with editorial independence and I hope that you will not do this again in the future in respect of this or any other case”.
89. Mr Nguma was right: the memo was indeed direct interference with editorial independence. But, Mr Price asked, how did it come about that Mr Mshana was under the impression that a policy of not criticising the President in the Guardian without asking the managing director’s permission remained the Company’s “official stand” which all editors were “obliged to observe….without fail”?
Mr Mshana was identified by Mr Kabendera, a young Tanzanian journalist who worked for the Guardian in 2009-10 and gave evidence for the Defendant, as having been present in court during part of the evidence before me. Nevertheless no evidence from Mr Mshana, written or oral, was produced, with the result that he could not be asked for his explanation.
90. The obvious inference to be drawn from Mr Mshana’s memo is that it was a momentary glimpse of the truth. The memo is also consistent with evidence from Mr Kabendera that he and other reporters at the Guardian were told that they must never publish anything negative about President Kikwete.”
Unaweza kusoma hukumu nzima hapa: Mengi v Hermitage  EWHC 3445 (QB) (30 November 2012)