Monday, November 18, 2013

IPI concerned over media profession, promises to empower journalists in Tanzania

THE International Press Institute (IPI) has promised to provide short courses on media trainings so as to empower the emerging professionals of the media industry in the country.  The IPS’s call was echoed yesterday in Dar es Salaam during talks between its top most Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie and officials of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT). During talks which lasted for one hour and half, the IPI official promised Tanzanian media industry together with other things that, they would provide short media trainings to journalists in the country in order to keep them abreast with the awareness of media ethics for their profession. The IPI official paid a one day courtesy visit in the country and held some talks with the MCT officials also on matters related with the media freedom of expression as this is a core issue of the organization’s mission.  Before jetting in the country, the visiting IPI official was in a special press freedom mission in Ethiopia with a view to monitor how the media in that country is being treated by the government, and had decided to come to Tanzania to deliberate the same issues affecting media industry in the country.  “Our personal interest is to develop our network into getting closer with practicing journalists in the world” she said adding that, one way is to empower them for development and another is to help tackle issues affecting their entire operation. However, she noted that, in Africa IPI have few chapters She said that her organization was particularly concerned with what has emerged in media industry in the country whereby lots of information about violation of human rights and the freedom of press has been collected by her organization from Tanzania. It is for this reasons which has made her to come and hold talks and see what is currently happening in the country in terms of media deteriorating and how to deal with the matter, says an official from MCT.  During the talks, the MCT side was led by its Regulations and Standards Manager Pili Mtambalike who also used the opportunity to narrate various key obstacles facing Tanzania’s media fraternity and mentioned one of them being lack of a comprehensive media bill that provide freedom of accessing information.   

Acting Executive Director of the Tanzania Media Council (M,CT) Pili Mtabalike hands over the designed draft of freedom of expression to the visiting CEO of the International Press Institute (IPI),Alison Bethel McKenzie (standing right in red jacket) after the two had had held some talks on the media situation in the country. The short ceremony was held at MCT offices at Mwenge in Dar es Salaam.

Pili noted that, there are bad and outdated media laws which are still oppressive and do not give freedom of expression to media professionals in the country, thus are undermining the entire profession. She narrated to her guest of various incidences such as killings and torture of media professionals which have occurred in recent years and said that, are oppressive to the media industry in the country.  She also reminded her visitor who tomorrow (today) expects to visit Zanzibar on a similar mission that, the amendments of the media laws in Tanzania has been a subject of debate ever since the issue was tabled in Parliament over eight years ago. In view of this, the MCT has been struggling very hard in order to let the media bill discussed in Parliament, and was happy to say that, this time around they might get hope following the decision passed in recent Parliamentary debate sessions of having it tabled during the next session. However, she said the media bill which had been persistently being postponed in Parliament and the call of the government that it would be amended in next sessions, has been too annoying in then past.  Following frequent adjournments of the bill in Parliament, the media industry has not been working freely as under the current situation, the media is not open and transparent to uncover issues. Despite of this, the IPI official has promised to help the MCT solve the situation. “We want the media to be vibrant and be able to question the concerned people so that we could easily carry the job smoothly to ensure good governance”, she said adding that, the industry need people who can help to analyze and get effective media law. IPI is the global network for a free media and professionals. The organization which is based in Vienna, Austria has the capacity to counter threats to press freedom internationally. The firm has undertaken extensive spectrum of activities and constantly strives to maintain and expand its reputation as the world’s leading press freedom organization.

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