Sunday, June 1, 2014

Media Fund eyes minerals, drugs, violence, quality TV in new cycle

The Tanzania Media Fund (TMF) and several other stakeholders including the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) have launched five fellowship programs for senior journalists and editors. The six months fellowship programs will focus on extractive industries, Gender Based Violence (GBV), women broadcasters, combating drug trafficking and preventing drug abuse for senior journalists and editors, and a fellowship on television production for senior producers. Officiating at the launching of the fellowships last week in Dar es Salaam, the minister for Labour and Employment Gaudensia Kabaka advised journalists who were selected for the fellowships to use this opportunity to transform their profession for sustainability. She said that TMF fellowship programs are an alternative approach in mentoring media practitioners to both develop the media and foster development. “I advise all media stakeholders to consider TMF’s business models to transform their media organizations for sustainability. Relying on advertisements as the major means of revenue generation would continue to compromise their editorial independence and stifle growth,” she declared. Speaking about the fellowships, Khadija Mrisho from the Lawyers. Environmental Action Team (LEAT) said the extractive industries program is meant to create a conceptual understanding for participants to understand how the industry works, plus the policy and legal implications. “To spread understanding among the media and create active involvement in resource governance and patriotism, the fellowship is a collaboration and partnership between LEAT and TMF,” she elaborated. For her part, a representative for Tanzania Media Women’s Association (Tamwa) in Zanzibar, Mzuri Mzuri said that GBV is another fellowship which was launched in partnership intending to create conceptual understanding of GBV implications, policy and legal challenges. “It aims to raise awareness and education on GBV issues among the public and demand accountability and accountable reporting, protection to victims and justice for perpetuators,” she said. Meanwhile, Derek Murusuri, the project manager at Live Media Corporation said that the Life Media TV fellowship program for senior producers is unique that intends to transform television broadcasting and up the quality standards and creativity of documentaries that will promote domestic accountability. Another fellowship program on combating drug trafficking and preventing drug abuse for senior journalists and editors aims at enhancing consistency and accountability in reporting drug traffic cases. A representative for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)   Dorothy Usiri said the focus on drug use and illicit trafficking is intended to address critical information gaps and associated repercussions with regard to young people’s ability to being productive members of the society. She said that it is an opportunity to inspire the public to act against drug abuse and trafficking and to encourage positive change among young people who will be well informed about the risks. The women broadcasters fellowship is meant to increase the number of women broadcasters into TMF grant recipients, promote specialized reporting on development issues and quality radio and television content production. Recipients of this fellowship were overall part of women Excellence in Journalism Awards (EJAT) winners, to be mentored by veteran broadcasters to produce programs that will promote domestic accountability and meet international broadcasting standards.

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