Monday, April 20, 2015

Govt assures security to investigative journalists

THE Government is preparing a bill that would protect investigative journalists and those citizens who dedicates their lives over the fight of illicit drug trafficking by exposing people who engage in the illegal business which has become so rampant in the country. The Attorney General George Masaju made the declaration yesterday in Dar es Salaam when he officiated the graduation ceremony that culminated the handing over of the certificates of attendance to 18 journalists in the country who had undergone a seven month short training on combating drugs and illegal trafficking in Tanzania and on Millennium development goals. The trainings were sponsored by the Tanzania Media Fund (TMF) in collaboration with United Nations Information office in Dar es Salaam, benefited eight senior journalists and ten female journalists of various media outlets mostly of the electronic media and.  The eight female journalists are those who won the 2013 Media Awards provided by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) and who the TMF had promised to train on various areas that cover Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the country. In his speech, the AG Masaju noted that, the rationale behind the idea of preparing a bill which later would be enacted in Parliament as a protective Act is to strengthen the intensive task that would enable people to expose more mischief on drug baron deal which has now become a global issue. “The government is preparing the bill and once it would be passed into a law would protect journalists and other good citizens who would expose such mischief in their publications as a way to facilitate the fight and their identities would be concealed according to the laws to make them safer”, he said. Some of the eight senior journalists who were awarded with the certificates said that, had encountered lots of difficulties in practicing their experiences attained after the training for the last two months and some noted that were nearly stoned to death when chasing investigative stories. Others maintained that were threatened to death together with their relatives while were on the move to find out the truth about the situation in various places they visited to carry an investigation. The Managing Editor of the Swahili investigative tabloid called ‘Jamhuri’ Deudastus Balile said that, journalists should not rely on the old style of writing news as the world has changed and therefore journalists needs to cope with new styles that tells their own stories. However, he noted that journalists have to risk out their lives and take precautionary measures when chasing such stories as it is resentful to the businessmen dealing with such illegal deal. He said that, care is greatly needed otherwise the nation would continue suffer under the yoke of the few greedy business people who would bring bad image to the nation if are not tackled to stop the this illegal trade. Ndimara Tegamwage who was a mentor in these trainings noted that fear should not overcome journalists when writing such investigative stories, and called on editors of various publications to publish such types of stories in their publications as a way to help the nation solve the problem. However, he queried why no any journalists in the country who has ever gone and asked the President about the issue who earlier on had confessed himself to have known all illegal drug dealers in the country. Fili Karashani who was also a mentor in these trainings noted that, there is high time for Tanzania media industry need to be changed and focus more on the people’s life as a way to promote the unprivileged groups. Karashani among the veteran journalists in the country has a long history of journalism and cautioned journalists to observe objectivity while reporting news.

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