The SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Thursday called on the government to find answers as to why South African journalist Angela Quintal and her Kenyan colleague Muthoki Mumo were detained in Tanzania.
“Sanef calls on government to quickly resolve the worrying detention of South African journalist‚ Angela Quintal and her colleague‚ Muthoki Mumo‚” said Sanef chairperson Mahlatse Gallens.
Quintal and Mumo are in Tanzania on a reporting mission for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
The pair were reportedly arrested on Wednesday evening.
Quintal‚ who is the Africa Programme co-ordinator for the CPJ‚ had on Wednesday sent a message from her Facebook page stating that she and Mumo were being detained. “SOS we are being taken away for interrogation in Dar. We don’t know why. Taken from Southern Sun Hotel‚” she said.
The department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) told TimesLIVE that the pair had been released on Thursday morning. “Following a very long night by the high commissioner‚ the two journalists have been brought back into their hotel. The high commissioner [Thami] Mseleku is meeting with them to understand the events of last night‚” said Dirco spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya.
Shedding details on their arrest‚ Gallens said: “After approximately five hours‚ Quintal and Mumo were then returned to their Dar es Salaam hotel at around 3am – but without their passports. Details and reasons for the detention are still not clear.”
Hours after their arrest‚ a message was posted on Quintal’s Twitter page to say they had since been released – but her family took to social media to state that the message was not sent by Quintal.
On this matter‚ Gallens said it was unclear whether Tanzanian authorities had taken Quintal’s phone. A number of her social media profiles have been deactivated.
“Sanef believes these are very worrying developments. We need to urgently find out the reasons behind this detention. Further‚ the journalists’ passports and phones need to be immediately returned‚” she said.
“We believe the arbitrary detention of journalists is a direct and dangerous threat to media freedom and access to information.”
Mabaya said they were yet to consult with Quintal and Mumo to establish what led to their detention.
The State Department is “closely following” the case of Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo, two Committee to Protect Journalists staffers reportedly being held in Tanzania, a spokesperson told CNN https://t.co/qKBlbo1zWd pic.twitter.com/FpjYOYsPe4
— CNN (@CNN) November 8, 2018