16 January 2013

Tanzania: Government Decries Media Unprofessionalism

THE government has been tolerant enough not to deregister over three quarters of media outlets, currently operating in the country, that violate professional ethics in conducting their activities.

The Assistant Director in the Ministry of Information, Youths, Culture and Sport, Mr Raphael Hokororo, said in Dar es Salaam that a recent research conducted by his office shows a lot of shortcomings in nearly 74 per cent of electronic media and over 90 per cent of print media in the country.

"These media outlets have their editorial departments conducted and run by personnel who are either semi-professional or unprofessional at all. They have to watch out otherwise the new Act may send them out," he said.

He was presenting a paper entitled, "Government efforts in providing conducive environment to enable smooth media operations in Tanzania, Challenges and its solutions," during a workshop organized for Members of Parliament (MPs).

The workshop - according to the Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee for Community Development, Ms Jenista Mhagama - is part of many other such stakeholders' meetings ahead of the government tabling the Freedom of Information and Media Service Bill, later this year.

Mr Hokororo said the government was determined to improve services of the media, to make it more accountable and run professionally, adding that strategies are underway to introduce special council which will oversee media operations in the country.

'Records show that of late there were over 765 registered newspapers, journals and magazines but not all are circulating. The Act stipulates that journals that have not been printed for three consecutive years have to be deleted from the registry," he noted.

Mentioning some of the shortcomings facing many media outlets and which are expected to be addressed in the proposed bill, as that of media owners dreaming of making quick money at the expense of their consumers.

Others are insufficient resources to run their businesses, lack of skilled personnel, hence relying on cheap labour while very few have schemes of services. Contributing during the workshop themed; Media Management and an Effectiveness of Media Operations in Tanzania; MPs said the government was obliged to support the media since it is doing commendable job despite challenges.

Eng. Ramo Makani (Tunduru East, CCM) said the government was supposed to support the media to grow and operate professionally by creating many professional development programmes. Dr Titus Kamani (Busega-CCM) said apart from regulating the media, the government should put enabling environment and protect them.

The Associate Dean at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC), Dr Michael Andindilile, said not all journalists who were well trained can be good journalists, urging journalists to develop habits of reading and attending regular trainings.

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