Tanzania: Limitless Freedom of Press Unrealistic, Mwakyembe Says

INFORMATION, Culture, Arts and Sports Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe yesterday ruled out the possibility of having limitless press freedom in the country.

Minister Mwakyembe expressed discontent on individuals ridiculing Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister Prof Palamagamba Kabudi's remarks on press freedom in Tanzania at the 74th UN General Assembly in New York, last week.

Professor Kabudi boasted of vibrant and diversified media in the country, representing different opinions as evidenced by 152 registered radio stations, with only three under state ownership.

"Tanzania is committed to enhancing good governance and rule of law as well as freedom of expression ... there are 152 radio stations, over 15newspapers and 34 television stations," charged Prof Kabudi.

Dr Mwakyembe said many people are unaware of the real situation in today's world because they only appear to be obsessed with content of western movies and stories.

He argued that the freedom limits are inevitable to protect others' rights and freedom as well as the broad interest of the nation as highlighted in the Constitution and various protocols that the countries freely signed.

Minister Mwakyembe was speaking during his meeting and talks with heads of the Music and Performing Arts Committee in the country-KAMUSATA-at Tanzania Film Board (TFB) offices in Dar es Salaam.

He applauded Prof Kabudi on the mode which he delivered the good speech at the 74th UN General Assembly in New York.

"The speech was delivered with great confidence and accuracy the reason most citizens have extended lots of credit to Prof Kabudi... only for a few who have claimed to be shocked with the remarks, citing that the press in Tanzania has limits. "Worldwide which country's press is entirely free? What of the films," Dr Mwakyembe argued? For him, it is only in western movies people could see journalist using police tactics to sneak into public offices and people's homes capture confidential documents and private photos of people sleeping. He was not convinced that the kinds of trends are in anyways related to freedom of expression.

"If doing what you want, blaming, conviction without enough proof and manipulating information for the interest of a person, the kind of freedom is not entirely vivid but just for show aired out in the films," noted the Minister.

Dr Mwakyembe swore to protect all journalists who abide to the principles of the profession by publishing and broadcast relevant news that do not take sides nor undermine, incite or speak ill of people. Equally, he further pledged to continue embracing journalists.

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