Tanzanian journalist and member of Hub Afrique, Maxence Melo Mubyazi was recognised by the Committee to Protect Journalists with the International Press Freedom Award 2019.
In an impassioned acceptance speech, Melo highlighted the importance of freedom of expression in creating an informed citizenry, the cornerstone for a stable democracy. In defence of that freedom, Melo pointed out that he had been to court 137 times. Today, Melo is once again in court to dispute the charges laid against him in 2016, namely managing a domain not registered in Tanzania and obstruction for refusing to disclose the identities of Jamii Forums’ users.
Melo is the owner and co-founder of Jamii Forums, a popular East and Central African website and discussion forum that is a source of breaking news and a secure whistleblowing platform that promotes accountability and transparency in Tanzania. The website hosts frank debates, mostly in Kiswahili, about topics that include graft in the public sector and government incompetence.
Melo, a champion for online freedom of expression and internet governance, has faced persecution from the government.