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ZA KISWAHILI

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Mckenzie

The International Press Institute (IPI) has written to the US President Barack Obama complaining against President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania on the worsening press violations in the country.

This was said by IPI’s Executive Director, Alison Bethel Mckenzie during talks with the Acting Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania Pili Mtambalike at the Council’s offices in Dar es Salaam on November 15, 2013.

Mckanzie said that Tanzania had for many years been reputed as country with robust and vibrant media.

However she said in recent years the country has assumed negative posture with the killing and mistreating of journalists and shutting down newspapers using archaic legislations such as the 1976 newspaper Act.

Journalist Daudi Mwangosi was killed by Police in September last year, another journalist, Issa Ngumba was found dead in mysterious circumstances in January and the Managing Editor of New Habari Corporation, Abaslom Kibanda was thoroughly beaten up and serious wounded by unknown assailants in March this year.

Two newspapers – Mwananchi and Mtanzania were banned late September this year.

Mckenzie who is on a visit had said she had very much wanted to meet with the Minister responsible for Information, Dr. Fennella Mukangara, but the minister had not responded to her request for meeting.

President Kikwete is on record world wide as a loyalist to the Open Government (OGP) Partnership initiated by the US president.

The President has been reported to have said during one of the OGP’s meeting held in London that Tanzania would present to Parliament a bill on right to information legislation.

Mtambalike who is also the Council’s Regulation and Standards Manager, told the IPI Director that MCT has initiated a move to petition President Kikwete on the deteriorating press and editorial freedom.

Some international organizations such as the World Association of Press Council’s and the Committee to Protect journalists have already raised the issue with the president, Mtambalike said.

Mckenzie on her part said IPI will also throw its weight on the matter and pledged to make so much noise.

She also promised to organize a visit by an IPI delegation to the country to pile up pressure and support before the right to information bill is tabled before the Parliament next April.

In addition the IPI Executive Director promised a wide range of assistance to the Council including the exchange of crucial publications on media. Mckenzie was also scheduled to visit Zanzibar.

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