17 November 2012

Tanzania: Journalists Warned Not to Give Judgement While Covering Court Cases

Tanga — JOURNALISTS in Tanga have been urged to remain neutral and avoid making predictions over undelivered judgments when reporting court cases.

The advice was given by the Resident Magistrate of Tanga Court, Maira Saanane Kasonde, during a learning session of reporting court cases organised by the Union of Press Clubs Tanzania (UTPC) for members of Tanga Press Club.

He said he has been following court cases reported in various media outlets and from his observation he discovered a lot of mistakes in their reporting style. He said most journalists jump to conclusions before judgment is ruled, something which he termed as a grave mistake.

He further said the negative impact is that wananchi who follow court proceedings through what is reported in media outlets, end up with different versions of a court ruling.

"You know the public tends to believe what is reported on media outlets...when the final judgment is out and if it is different from what the newspapers predicted ,then people start asking questions in streets about judgment that was finally delivered...I urge you not to be biased in reporting.

You have to report the facts and about judgment leave it to the jurisdiction," he said.

Journalists in Tanga attended the four-day training on court reporting facilitated by the veteran journalist who is also a lawyer, Nyaronyo Kicheere. During the training session journalists learnt about court procedures and laws in order to equip them to report court issues ethically and professionally.

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