Newspapers and magazines in Tanzania will have to apply for new licences after a government directive revoked permits which allowed them to publish.
The government’s Director of Communication, Hassan Abbas, told journalists in the main city, Dar es Salaam, that the media groups have until 15 October to apply for the licences.
The move is likely to be seen as another affront on press freedom by President John Magufuli’s government, and an attempt to silence publications deemed to be critical of his administration.
Bakari Machumu, the executive editor of the publishing group behind The Citizen newspaper, told the BBC that the new licences would have to be renewed annually.
The move would burden operating costs across the industry and negatively affect businesses, he said.
Mr Machumu added that the directive meant that publications which failed to comply will be forced to close, and this would “infringe on the right of the public to get information from the various media outlets”.
The government has, however, dismissed the criticism.
It says the move will enhance professionalism.
The directive, which will affect more than 100 newspapers and magazines, has caused worry among owners of electronic media organisations that they are next in line.