Moshi — The Prevention and Combatting of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) in Kilimanjaro Region has warned journalists who engage in corrupt practices to refrain from the practice forthwith.
Kilimanjaro Regional PCCB Commander, Mr Alex Kuhanda, warned the journalists saying that such acts lead to biased reporting and generally poor media coverage. He advised them to be the last group to think of embracing corruption.
Mr Kuhanda told the press in his office yesterday that as there have been ghost workers in public offices, fake journalists have invaded the media fraternity and the problem is proving to be huge.
He said there are about six cases involving journalists who move from place to place demanding bribes from sources so as to write positive stories and stop the negative ones against some people and institutions.
Mr Kuhanda disclosed that the journalists have been demanding monetary bribes ranging between one to five million shillings and just yesterday they called at a certain bank demanding 5m/- so that they write positively about it.
The PCCB head cautioned that the behaviour is against codes and ethics of the media. He said that at times, some journalists have been identifying themselves as PCCB officials, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) workers, Police officers or Immigration Department officials.
He said the effects of corruption in the media industry means news will lack credibility, lose market for the respective media outlets and may even end up in unemployment of respective reporters. Mr Kuhanda said he understands the importance of the media in the region, country and the world, but said if misused it could lead to unfavourable situations.
He noted that the media has the power to maintain peace and stability in any country or throw a country into chaos.
He added that the media in Kilimanjaro has been helping PCCB meet its objectives. He said it is high time now the journalists went back to that track by avoiding corrupt practices. He warned that journalists are not above the law. "The law could take its course against journalists any time," he said.
"I issue this warning and if anyone thinks they are above the law and continue to ask and receive bribes, we will deal with them according to the law," he cautioned.
Speaking of the regional performance of PCCB from July 2015 to July 2016, Mr Kuhanda said the office received 283 complaints, mostly coming from district councils, co-operative societies, Saccos, business people and political parties.
The accusations were based on giving and receiving bribes, misuse of power and causing losses to the government. He said 16 people were arraigned in that stint. "During our investigations we managed to salvage more than 290m/-, out of which 100m/- was sent to the special account in the Treasury, while 190m/- was for TRA from people who were evading taxes," said Mr Kuhanda.