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EditorsMMedia practitioners have been urged to discharge their duties with due diligence and adhere to professional code of ethics.

The Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) Kajubi Mukajanga told editors who were on a two-day annual retreat in Iringa on October 24, 2013 that journalists should not be used for group or individual interests.

He cautioned that the profession is under siege and more dangerous now than any other time as there are no laws to protect neither whistleblowers nor news sources.

He advised the media to tread careful as there is a plethora of obnoxious laws that the authorities can apply anytime to stifle the limited freedom to journalists.

He said there are 17 legislations that work against media practitioners in the country’s statute books pointing out that there is no other profession that has many laws that aim to impede its progress.

Touching on the recent closure of two Kiswahili newspapers – Mwannchi and Mtanzania ordered by the Minister for Information Culture and Sports, Mukajanga said as long as such repugnant legislation as the 1976 Newspaper Act exists, it is bound to be used by someone.

Mwananchi was banned for two weeks and Mtanzania for 90 days.

It is not surprising , he said, that the current minister for information, Fenella Mukangara, witnessed her predecessor resisting to apply the bad law, she did not hesitate to apply it not only once but twice.

At the end of July last year, she slapped an indefinite ban to a weekly newspaper - MwanaHalisi.

Explaining the folly of being used, Mukajanga told the editors that once a journalist is used, he would obviously be despised.

He also appealed to media practitioners to desist from negative habits like extortion and blackmail warning they have serious consequences including death.

He also said journalists should not fabricate stories or ‘fix’ photos to create false and unacceptable impression.

Journalists should always be guided by the basic and main principle of their profession – telling the truth.

The editors in a communiqué released in Dar es Salaam on October 28, 2013 after returning to base from the retreat, concurred with the views expressed by the MCT Executive Secretary pledging to adhere to professional code of ethics.

They also pledged to pursue all avenues until attackers of TEF chairperson Absalom Kibanda are brought to book and justice attained.

Kibanda was brutally attacked by unknown assailants at gate of his residence in Dar es Salaam as he returned home from work in March this year. Nobody has been arrested for the attack.

TEF expressed dismay over the silence on the part of government and for appearing not to be doing anything.

The editor’s forum pointed out that this may instigate other attacks on media practitioners as the government would not take any actions against the perpetrators of the heinous crimes.

They also pledged to continue pressing for repealing of the obsolete legislations and appeal for the enactment of new legislations to protect whistleblowers to enable media to unearth the decadence in society.

TEF will also press for enactment of legislations to protect media practitioners as the present legislations do not measure up to the task.

This was the third retreat by editors. The first was held in Arusha in 2011 and the second was in Tanga in 2012.

 

 

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