The minister for Information, Sports and Culture, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe on Monday evening graced the launch of re-designed Mwanaspoti, a leading sports and entertainment newspaper in the country, and lavished praise on the Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) management for the achievement.
Addressing various stakeholders in information, sports and entertainment sector during a colourful ceremony at the Serena Hotel, Dr Mwakyembe, who was the guest of honour, said the MCL's decision was a good business strategy.
"You've re-designed Mwanaspoti six times since 2001 when it entered the market for the first time, increasing your sales to an average of 60,000 copies from 3,000. This means the management is competent, editors are dedicated and reporters are hardworking," he said.
The minister said traditional media was facing serious competition from social media with the latter facing challenges of failing to abide by ethics of journalism.
"However, MCL has avoided the trap by abiding by the laws and regulations, which is good and people will understand your apology when you accidentally commit mistakes," he said.
According to him, the government acknowledges MCL efforts to help the government improve people's wellbeing through its assistance to youth football national team (Serengeti Boys) and consoling victims of earthquake in Kagera Region.
"The Mwanaspoti's new outlook should increase engagement of the youth in sports and arts, which employ more people as compared to other professions. Mwanaspoti should use Mbwana Samata, Mwana FA, Ali Kiba and Diamond to generate many other artistes," he said.
Dr Mwakyembe added: "Also, newspapers are allowed to criticise leaders, but there is a limit because everybody is striving to develop the country."
Responding to concern of reduced advertisements to private media, which threatens its prosperity and existence, the minister said that it was not happening deliberately.
He stressed that systems of getting adverts have not changed and that the strongest media houses stand a better chance of making business with the government.
Earlier, MCL Managing Director Francis Nanai raised the alarm that the private media going through a rough patch financially following the government's decision to prioritise state owned media for its advertisements.
For his part, MCL Board Chairman Leonard Mususa assured Dr Mwakyembe that MCL would abide by professional ethics in order to differentiate themselves with other media houses, adding that the media was important tool of uniting people and accelerate development.
Describing the new design, MCL Executive Editor Bakari Machumu said the paper's fonts have been increased while some trivial items reduced from every page and columns improved.
Mr Machumu said the new design will now accommodate sports investigative stories and advertisers will have enough space to market their products, adding that there are several other new pages, which have been introduced.
"Technology can connect youngsters to Mwanaspoti website after scanning a code in the newspaper. The newspaper has taken a context of famous sports and entertainment newspapers in the world. The website will provide them with more pictures, videos and statistics," he said.
This is the sixth version of Mwanaspoti since it entered the market in February 12, 2001. Other new versions were released in May 5, 2001, July 13, 2002, January 1, 2005 and February 13, 2010.