Tanzania: Use Your Pens Wisely, Journalists Told

JOURNALISTS have been advised to abstain from writing news and features relating to political aspirants vying for different positions, including political leaders to avoid inconveniences.

This, they were told, will also avoid violence during the forthcoming general elections which are expected to be held later this year.

The advice was given recently by Mr Bahati Mustapha, a facilitator during a training workshop for journalists which carried the title; Community Media Network: Women and Leadership Reporting, which was held in Moshi, Kilimanjaro region.

The training workshop was organized and facilitated by Non-Governmental Organization Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP).

"Journalists are important stakeholders in the general election, when they use their pens badly, the general election won't be peaceful as expected, and worst still they could be marred by chaos," he warned.

Regarding the role of women in leadership, including in political levels of leadership, Mr Mustapha urged women to avoid the tendency of complaining about the challenges they face during the general elections which they somehow relate with their gender status.

"There are claims which lead to complaints that women experience racism and even discrimination during the election processes, some of them use this as their excuse to stop contesting for various political positions.

My advice to them is that they should avoid embracing those challenges and instead find ways to curb them," he said.

Another workshop facilitator, Mr Dionis Nyato, said women had major contributions in the spheres of leadership, including politics and that journalists have a great opportunity to make that clear through their work.

"The effect of depriving women who are good in the leadership arena by not reporting their achievements, is that most people will not realize their (women) potential and positive contributions in the society through their noble commitments," he said.

He went on to say that information related to successful women in leadership positions has been a catalyst for other women to vie for leadership positions, including those in the political arena.

"For example, the presence of Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan as the Vice President of the fifth phase government, has inspired many women, and this may contribute to many women coming out to vie for different positions in this year's general election", he said, adding that journalists' contributions in reporting about the achievements of Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan inside and outside the country was one of the reasons which inspires more women to come out and vie for different posts in this year's elections.

According to Mr Nyato, the training which was organized and facilitated by TGNP, aimed to create a media network with the aim of building capacity in gender-specific journalism that focuses on women's participation in leadership.

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