Tanzania: Most Citizens Believe Criticizing the Govt Is Good, Twaweza Study Reveals

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Dar es Salaam — Nine people out of ten citizens (87 per cent) believe they should be able to criticize the government if they think there is reason to do so, reads the Twaweza's Voice of the Citizen new report.

According to the report, majority of the citizens believe that they should be free to criticize the government and the president for making bad decisions and not taking advice.

"They believe that criticism helps leaders to avoid making mistakes," reads the report.

The findings were released by Twaweza in a study titled "Not to that extent? Tanzanians view on information and public debate".

A proportion of 81 per cent of citizens feels criticism of leaders is a good thing because it helps stop them from making big mistakes.

Despite this proportion a majority of 60 per cent still does not feel free to criticize the president and 54 per cent do not feel free to criticize the vice president.

The report also shows a decline in trust in different main sources of information.

Radio trust has dropped from 80 per cent in 2016 to 64 per cent in 2017 and 69 per cent drop for television in 2017 from 73 per cent in 2016.

Although trust in media has declined 62 per cent of citizens believe in media freedom and would rather a newspaper publish false or incorrect information apologise and publish correction than be shut down or fined.

Despite citizens' strong views on access to information, very few are aware of the law that govern this issue and majority are not connected to the system.

Twaweza's executive director Aidan Eyakuze said, "citizens strongly support access to information and free expression but citizens rarely demand for information and they do not feel they can criticize senior government officials".

He added "the government must recognise the value of open public debate and constructive criticism in eliminating waste and on the fight against corruption in the country".

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