Journalists in Tanzania are joining others in the world to commemorate the 26th world press freedom day which will be on 3rd May 2019 on Friday. Journalists are meeting in different areas to discuss different issues concerning this important field which is said to be one of the beams of the country.

This year, the global main event jointly organised by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the government of the republic of Ethiopia, is taking place in Addis Ababa. The theme is “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”.

This theme covers the issue of media and the transparency of political process, the independence and media literacy of the judicial system, and the accountability of state institutions towards the public. Also, it examines contemporary challenges to ensure press freedom.

It discusses current challenges faced by media in elections, along with the media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.

UNESCO through its former director, Irina Bokova explained about this stuff in deep details.

“In the year 2015, the world agreed on 17 ongoing development issues. The aim is to ensure there is a strong act on fighting poverty in the world within 15 years from 2015 to 2030, to ensure the well-being to all, to protect the world and maintain the global peace,” elaborated Irina.

She further explained that every citizen can achieve all if he/she work smartly together and receive the correct with high standard information. Due to that, it is why there is a world press freedom day that shows the importance of journalism which act on the agreed agenda that will help the world to achieve the expected development by 2030.

This day and its theme, shows the relationship between the media and the availability of the culture to have the free expression on media without any interference’s from the authorities within different countries including Tanzania.

If we want to achieve the goal of transforming our country to be a middle income country through the industrial economy, we need the freedom in our media and protecting journalists for their duties to give information from all the country’s corners and the whole globe.

The question to ask ourselves is, ‘Is it possible to achieve those, if we can still ban Mwanahalisi and other newspapers just because there’re articles which are not in favour of a certain group of people?

Last year, Mr. Ansbert Ngurumo who is a Tanzanian journalist just decided to flee from Tanzania to Finland for what he said, to save his life from ruthless hands of Tanzania’s “unknown people”. Where are we putting Tanzania on the issue of press freedom?

Report of the Reporters without borders (RSF) put Tanzania in 118 among the 180 countries when it comes to press freedom. Other East African countries stands as follows: 100 for Kenya, 125 for Uganda, 139 for South Sudan, 155 for Rwanda and  the last is Burundi which stands in position 159.

Only Kenya, South Sudan and somehow Rwanda have little improvements compared to last year. According to the last year’s report of the Reporters without borders (RSF) Tanzania was in position 93 among the 180 while it was 96 for Kenya, 117 for Uganda, 144 for South Sudan, 156 for Rwanda and  Burundi which was in position 159 as it is today.

This is not an achievement for Tanzania just because it leads other East African countries for freedom in media issues. If one compares this year with 2016, Tanzania has dropped with 35 steps from 83 to 118.

On the 08th December 2011, the columnist of Tanzania Daima newspaper Mr. Samson Mwigamba, the chief editor of the particular newspaper Mr. Absalom Kibanda and the assistant director of Mwananchi Communications Ltd as the one printed the newspaper, were taken to the court for publishing the defamatory issues.

It still remembered in 02nd September 2012, Daudi Mwangosi who was a reporter for Channel Ten, Iringa was bitten and died in the hand of the police because of reporting the CHADEMA campaign at Nyororo village in Mufindi district.

Today, Tanzania has about 123 licensed radio stations, 30 televisions and nearly hundred newspapers. If they will be used effectively, the move to be a middle income country by 2025 will be a true dream.

Our respective leaders should be reminded with this last year’s theme which was “Keeping power in check: media, justice and the rule of law” just like this year’s theme which is “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”. Journalists and Tanzanians who are good friends of the media, want to see their country ranked in position one and not 118 according to RSF.

Kisole Mario

I am a journalist living and working in Mwanza Region Tanzania. I have a passion for journalism and enjoy covering general news, from politics to lifestyle and general news. I have been writing for TheAfrican.com since April 2019.
Kisole Mario

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