The annual consultative meeting between editors and the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) has called for closer working links between journalists and government institutions and functionaries.
The call followed disappointment over the government failure to open the consultative meeting and participate in it as requested by the council.
According to a statement issued in Dar es Salaam yesterday by Tanzania Editors Forum and signed by its Secretary Neville Meena, the editors and other media stakeholders were not pleased by the absence of the Minister for Information, Youth Culture and Sports Dr Fenella Mukangara and her Permanent Secretary Seth Kamuhanda.
The statement said failure by the two leaders to participate in the important meeting for the development of the profession in the country and or send a representative from the ministry has not only shocked the editors but also displeased them.
“The report we received indicated a tug of war between the media profession, the ministry and the entire government …the failure to send a representative from among the ministry’s leaders and executives is evidence that something is not right at the ministry,” it said.
The editors however said that the act has created doubt on whether they still need to continue to work with the minister and her PS because they were worried whether they can get cooperation in the coming days especially in putting in place a good media law and right to access information.
The act has diminished the editors’faith in the ministry’s leaders especially in the process of bringing changes to the profession and the right of collecting information and providing news.
The editors stressed that the public should be informed about the incident and that they will submit official complaints to President Jakaya Kikwete so that he can intervene to rescue the profession which is crucial for the health of the nation.
They however assured Tanzanians and the government that the media is determined and well organised to work for the country by abiding by ethics.
“What we request are tools of work which are the Media Service Act and the Right to Information Act whose processing has lasted for 10 years without getting the laws,” the statement said.
The consultative meeting was held on June 3 to 5 this year at Morogoro and involved editors from the government and private media.
Among things the meeting discussed the state of the media in the country.
Different topics were discussed, focusing on promoting professional ethics.