The work of Tanzanian journalist Maxence Melo has been recognised by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), who presented him with their 2019 International Press Freedom Award.
Melo is the owner and co-founder of Jamii Forums, a popular website and discussion forum that hosts frank debates, mostly in Kiswahili on topics including politics and corruption in Tanzania.
In 2016, Jamii Forums’ office was raided by Tanzanian security forces, and Melo was detained for interrogation. After being held for eight days, he was charged with managing a domain not registered in Tanzania and obstruction for refusing to disclose the identities of Jamii Forums’ users.
In 2017, Melo appeared in court 81 times. He continues to fight in Tanzanian court to clear his name.