23 December 2012

Tanzania: MCT Challenges Journalists to Uphold Ethics

JOURNALISTS have been cautioned to adhere to ethics, remembering that the pen is mightier than the sword. They should avoid reporting rumours instead should verify the truth from relevant sources.

Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) Kajubi Mukajanga, made the call during a joint meeting with journalists members of the Kagera Press Club (KPC) in Bukoba Municipality over the weekend. "Media professionals should always bear in mind that the media is very strong and can influence change.

We should fulfill this noble obligation by adhering to ethics and professionalism," he emphasized. Mr Mukajanga, who is also President of the World Press Council (WPC), urged the reporters to ensure that their stories and publications do not harm the society.

He was making reference to a recent incident in Bukoba Municipality, whereby an innocent woman (name withheld) was assaulted by a group of unruly people after she was allegedly found with several children at her house at Kashai Ward.

It was later established that the children are her sister's who recently lost her husband at Kizigo village in Kamachumu Ward, Muleba District. Mukajanga blasted a section of the media which misreported the rumours as if they were facts, before verifying the truth.

He warned that such biased reporting was very dangerous and could have negative results. Meanwhile, Kagera Regional Police Commander (RPC) Philip Kalangi, has urged residents in the region to avoid taking the law into own hands and instead should report suspects to relevant authorities.

Mr Kalangi noted that in recent months there has been an increase of incidents whereby innocent people were killed and properties destroyed by people basing on rumours. "Under Sections 13 and 14 of the Union Constitution, every person has a right to life and nobody should be condemned unheard," he said.

He noted that a total of 40 people were arrested in connection with the Kashai incident. However, 29 among them were later released while 11 others were still helping in police investigation. He also condemned the killing of two police officers and a civilian in Mugoma Ward, in Ngara District.

On December 15, this year two police officers from the Traffic department identified as Cpl Paschal and Constable Alexander and a civilian Said Mkonikoni (24) from Mugoma village died during the skirmishes. Unruly people later set ablaze a police post at Mugoma, destroying various property whose value has not been established.

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