Journalists in Iringa today plan to march in protest against what they described as gross mistreatment and harassment by the regional authorities to the media fraternity.
Reports from Iringa said police had given them green-light to march, scheduled for today morning, after it met with leaders of the Iringa Press Club’s (IPC) to discuss routes which would be used by the marchers.
In the letter reference number IRI/A./14/VOl.x11/178, addressed to IPC management, police said application to hold peaceful demonstration has been accepted.
According to the club’s Secretary General, Frank Leonard, they agreed with the police on the routes through which they would march as Uhuru Road, Iringa Municipal Garden -- through Samora Road ending at the Catholic church.
The Iringa Regional Police Commander, Mohamed Mkwazu Semunyu ordered the Regional Traffic Officer to arrange for police escort to the marchers.
IPC chairman Daud Mwangosi recounted some of the acts of mistreatment of journalists by the regional authorities as reporters covering the visit of Vice-President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal to Makete, Njombe, Mufindi and Iringa districts being left to sleep outside, after failure by the authorities to make accommodation arrangements for them.
He stressed that if regional offices sent invitations for press coverage for their activities, be it meetings or any other activity, they must be responsible for the journalists welfare.
For years, he said journalists in different parts of the country, have been subjected to harassment and neglect, preventing them from discharging their duties efficiently and effectively.
Meanwhile the Mbeya Press Club (MBPC) has supported the move by their Iringa colleagues, calling on the authorities to stop harassment and related acts against journalists.
MBPC chairman Christopher Nyanyembe congratulated the Mwangosi and other representatives for their initiative aimed at stopping mistreatment and discrimination against journalists.
The demonstration, according to Nyanyembe, would serve as an eye-opener for other journalists countrywide to join hands with their colleagues in Iringa in protesting injustices and related harassments done by officials against the professionals.
Meanwhile CCM Iringa District Office plans to meet with members of Iringa Press Club in order to get clear picture of their concerns.
CCM Iringa Urban District Chairman, Abed Kiponza, said he had requested to meet with IPC leadership to get their side of the story and look for ways of resolving the stand-off between journalists and regional authorities.
He expressed dismay over mistreatment of journalists while executing their duties, noting that both CCM and the general public depended on the media to get up to date news and information on various subjects.
The Media Council of Tanzania Executive Secretary Kajubi Mukajanga said while they were yet to be informed formally of the problem, they would contact the IPC to get the details.
Tanzania Editors Forum Executive Secretary, Neville Meena said the journalist had a right to pursue their rights in such manner and that the forum would follow the issue closely.