A Practical Guide for Using Strategic Litigation To Enforce the Right to Information and Media Freedom in Zanzibar


Right to Information and Media Freedom in Zanzibar points out the key technical and jurisdiction considerations in pursuing such litigation with the view to achieve media freedom in Zanzibar. The purpose of the guide is to lead legal practitioners aiming at using the courts of law to realize media freedom in Zanzibar to have the necessary step by step guidance on how to do it through national and regional courts. This will contribute to strengthening the structure including procedural guidance for strategic litigation to improve the legal framework conducive to an independent, free, and plural media. Using the court of laws is an important measure to ensure that there is compliance to the constitution as well as international standards on media freedom. This guide has been developed to equip public interest lawyers in Zanzibar to pursue litigation through domestic and regional courts.

The guide is intended to assist editors, reporters, correspondents and lawyers with an interest in media laws in Zanzibar and the ordinary person to learn about litigating media laws and opportunities for advancing litigation to secure media freedom in Zanzibar. The overall goal of the Practice Guide is to build knowledge and skills on how to use the courts of law in Zanzibar and the region to challenge and reform the laws and regulations that infringe on media freedom based on the Zanzibar and Tanzania constitutions as well regional and international obligations to which Tanzania is a party. This guide is divided into three major parts; the first chapter pertains to planning and developing a strategic litigation case, the second chapter entails an overview of the national legal framework for the right to information and media freedom with A PRACTICE GUIDE FOR USING STRATEGIC LITIGATION TO ENFORCE THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION AND MEDIA FREEDOM IN ZANZIBAR …. 03 a special focus on the Constitution of Zanzibar, the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Basic Rights and Duties Enforcement Act and the Basic Rights and Duties Enforcement (Practice and Procedure) Rules. It discussed the utility as well as the limitations of the legal framework, the remedies available in view of the framework and the basic requirements for accessing justice through the same.

Realizing media freedom cannot be left to national courts alone. The third and final chapter is on the regional and international legal framework of the right to information and media freedom with a special focus on the East African Court of Justice, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Using the international human rights mechanism, public interest advocates in Zanzibar can pursue remedies available through the international legal system to compel national actors towards compliance with the regional and international norms and standards.

This guide is expected to be a living document that can be further developed, updated, and improved as more and more lawyers garner experience through practice. It is nonetheless, an important first step towards expanding media freedom in Zanzibar.