Protect journalists, THRDC report urges government

04May 2016
Rose Mwalongo
The Guardian
Protect journalists, THRDC report urges government

THE government has been called upon to ensure that the Police Force observes and protects the rights of journalists when undertaking their duties.

Journalists at work

The call comes as journalists mark World Press Freedom Day amid reports that over 30 journalists were physically attacked and threatened in the country in 2015 alone.

The call is part of the 2015 report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Tanzania which was compiled by the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) and launched in Dar es Salaam recently.

Meanwhile, the Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC) has raised concern over the safety of journalists in the country.UTPC president Deo Nsokolo raised the concern yesterday during an exclusive interview with The Guardian.

“We have determined that media workers operate under limited security and are threatened due to the work they do. History in this country shows that media workers operate under risky circumstances when they try to write and report stories in various sectors. They face so many obstacles such as being prevented from doing their jobs, others are threatened more often, taken as captives and even killed,” said Nsokolo.

The UTPC president called on media stakeholders and human rights activists to join hands and work towards challenging acts by those who wield power to deny people their rights to information to ensure that media actors can enjoy the freedom they need to perform their responsibilities.

The 2015 THRDC’s report depicts some horrifying pictures of some journalists in Tanzania who were physically attacked. Some of them suffered severe injuries such as fractures while others escaped death narrowly.

A recent interview by the Guardian with human rights defenders from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania indicated that the lives of journalists who report on corruption and politics, especially on general elections, were under siege.

Aloys Habimana, the regional coordinator of the Frontline Defenders in Africa said there were certain issues in Kenya which journalists found hard to report because of fear for their safe, citing them as corruption and elections.

A woman human rights defender from Uganda who, however, preferred anonymity for security reasons said the situation of journalists after the General Election in her country was bad.

“Journalists who report on elections and corruption are beaten and left injured and at times simply disappear. The post-election period for journalists is worse than you can imagine,” said the defender.

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