MCT, stakeholders hail restored media freedom

08Apr 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
MCT, stakeholders hail restored media freedom

MEDIA stakeholders have expressed appreciation to President Samia Suluhu Hassan for directing authorities to desist from the tendency of banning and suspending media outlets.

“We are excited and elated,” said Kajubi Mukajanga in a statement reacting to the wide ranging speech by the president.

The remarks were part of assignments being given to permanent secretaries and their deputies after their being sworn in, along with several heads of key executive agencies. What she said raised high expectations, the veteran head of the self-regulating media ombudsman declared.

The speech also shed light on the way forward to review media laws and regulations, to amend them as required so that our country will be a nation that talks and freely discusses issues.

Despite the reassuring tone of the speech, the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) reminded journalists that their best shield is to adhere to professional ethics set by the industry itself.

Freedom comes with responsibility, so media practitioners should stick to professionalism and journalistic ethics, the MCT executive secretary intoned.  

The council believes that following the directive by President Samia those entrusted with overseeing media outlets should implement it without further ado, it said. What happened for media outlets which successfully challenged the government in courts of law is well known but they are still banned, the statement noted.

While the council takes seriously the directive by the President to media outlets to abide by the laws and  regulations, it appealed to ministerial executives to  engage stakeholders in the processes of drafting laws and regulations to ensure they are in accordance to the country’s constitution. 

Bad laws and regulations will impede translating into reality the good intentions of the president and media outlets which were banned can be banned again shortly thereafter on account of loopholes available in the law, it said. 

The council reminded the government of the ruling of the East African Court of Justice of March 28, 2019 which ordered that 16 articles of the Media Services Act of 2016 be amended has not been implemented.

Stakeholders appealed to the government to heed the ruling, expressing readiness to cooperate with the authorities, underlining that this isn’t rivalry as “we are all building the same house.”

The council and partners in the Coalition on the Right of Information (CoRI) pledged to work closely with the government in nation building in accordance with good governance practices and the rule of law.  

Partners in the coalition are Twaweza, the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), the Tanzania Women Journalists Association (TAMWA), Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), Sikika, Policy Forum, Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), MISA-Tan, the Tanzania Citizens Information Bureau (TCIB), Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) Jamii Forums and MCT.

Top Stories