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Media Council of Tanzania Website
The media has been challenged to be ethical in reporting, discussing and investigating the whole
process leading to a viable and well grounded new constitution for country. Presenting a paper the role of media in constitution making during a breakfast talk held on July 31, 2013, a senior lecturer of the University of Dar es Salaam – School of Journalism and Mass communication (SJMC), Dr. Ayub Rioba posed succinct and pertinent questions.
Among the questions in Dr. Rioba’s presentation was what is the media investigating – is it to check who, what and where there are shortcomings which would disrupt the whole constitution making process?
Is the media raising basic questions which are either adulterated or neglected in order to get a sound mother law, he asked adding whether the media was striving for a new constitution to assure the industry’s independence and accountability on the basis of self regulation?
Dr. Rioba indicated in his presentation during the breakfast meeting organized by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), that there are number of factors such as distance, ignorance and corruption which may affect the entire process.
Other questions he posed are:
- Is the process being hijacked by political parties, lawyers and politicians?
- Is the Commission (Constitutional Review Commission) working together with the media to sensitize and mobilise people to participate?
- Is the media listening to, talking to and creating space for dialogue with, the various political, social, economic and other special groups in society on their expectations in the new constitution?
- Are there any formalized contacts between the commission and the media?
- Is there a media liaison person who ensures consistency of messages from the commission?
- .Is the commission operating with transparency?
- Are political parties involved in an inclusive manner or is there any discrimination?
- Is there the need to create a constitution forum where all stakeholders can come together to discuss common preferences and common interests?
- Do all the commissioners observe the commission’s ethics at all times? What are these ethics?
Dr. Ryoba who also practices as a writer and columnist also asked whether newsrooms have special desks and personnel dedicated to the constitutional making process.
Peter Mataba a lecturer at St. Augustine University of Tanzania who was the discussant of Dr. Rioba’s presentation, appealed to journalists not to be used by the politicians as a bridge for advancing their interests.
He urged them to strive to be conversant with the concept of constitutional making so as articulate it well in their articles or commentaries.
Contributing in the discussion, the editor of Jamhuri newspaper, Deodatus Balile, insisted fellow Journalists to read the constitution word to word intensively so as to understand the impact of each article.
He also urged the media fraternity to strive to have six media practitioners selected in the Constituent Assembly that will deliberate and come up with the final constitution to ensure proposals raised by the media are accommodated.
The breakfast meeting was chaired by a prominent constitutional activists and chair of Tanzania Constitutional Forum, Deus Kibamba.
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