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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Come forth, journalists, and prove you are great

11th October 2012
Editorial Cartoon

The Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) was at it yet again yesterday, officially inviting media practitioners to a competition meant to accord them that once-a-year chance to showcase their professional skills competence.

That opportunity for this year is none other than the third edition of what is known as Excellence in Journalism Award Tanzania – EJAT, for short.

MCT Executive Secretary Kajubi Mukajanga formally floated the invitations at a brief ceremony at the council’s head offices in Dar es Salaam, suggesting that the plan is to have better and better as well as more representative and inclusive entries as time goes by.

For the highly dynamic profession that journalism is, this is a wonderful idea the media fraternity and the larger society ought to applaud and help translate into action.

The world is undergoing such swift technological and other changes that it no longer does to demand of journalists to have a good mix of speed and accuracy, to be professionally up to speed, and to have respect for the law and social ethics.

Surely, being increasingly accountable to society by being more responsive to society’s needs, demands, wishes and aspirations ought to be among the obligations of both the media as institutions and media practitioners both severally and as a fraternity.

No wonder, according to Mukajanga, it is recommended that EJAT 2012 have at least one new entry category – agribusiness. This has been guaranteed support by the Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF), a registered network of members from the private sector, civil society organisations including international and local NGOs, farmers’ associations, researchers and individuals engaged in agriculture.

It is noteworthy that ANSAF is primarily meant to bring together the coordination and collective action of agriculture actors in the interests of the well-being and economic prosperity of small-holder farmers.

That the forum will be partnering with Business Environment Strengthening Tanzania (BEST) in honouring the most outstanding performer in the category adds invaluable weight to efforts to make EJAT become more renowned.

Some of the categories applicable in previous editions of EJAT are good governance, gender, economic & business, the environment, health, HIV/Aids, malaria, conservation and domestic tourism.

The others include education, science & technology, children, people with disabilities, disasters & conflicts, sports & culture, best photo, best cartoonist, open, and lifetime achievement.

In remarks at yesterday’s ceremony, Mukajanga said the Awards were entering the new season “upbeat about last season’s positive response from media practitioners” that saw 700-plus entries – up from the initial year’s 340.

Attending to the various aspirations of the media fraternity will evidently take a bit of time, particularly given the demand for an expanded recognition list of excellence. All the same, MCT merits applause for keeping the Awards going and sticking to ensuring it does bring out genuine and professional excellence.

Media stakeholders and the broader public must support the council so that it continues to deliver on these Awards, which surely earn Tanzania a good name.

We sincerely hope MCT will also give a thought to all suggestions from the stakeholders, for that is what will guarantee the whole idea support and dignity.

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