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The Zanzibar government is finalising the bill on new media legislation, the Isles Minister for Information, Culture and Tourism, Said Ali Mbarouk has said.

Speaking during the Press Freedom Day Commemoration on May 3, 2014 held at the Zanzibar University, he said though the process of preparing the information bill has taken long time, he was confident it would be presented to the ministry soon for further action.

He said that the legislation would promote and strengthen the media and also help spur national development and is a very crucial step in enhancing democracy.

Mbarouk appealed to journalists not to be tempted and used by politicians especially during this period when the country is in the process of preparing new constitution.

“It is pertinent now that your pens should be used to promote and enhance true cohesion in the society and should never be used to stir hatred”, he emphasised.

Urging journalists to adhere to professional code of ethics, the minister alleged some journalists are easily used by interest groups including politicians.

Speaking earlier the Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania, Kajubi Mukajanga said it was important to have good legislation in order to ensure strong freedom of press. Such legislation, he said would also protect practicing journalists to work efficiently.

However, he pointed out that despite having good media legislation, there is need to promote professionalism and media practitioners must efficiently discharge quality output.

Journalists should be ready to be mentored by more qualified and experienced colleagues in order to improve their performance, Mukajanga advised.

He said though many journalists strive to acquire more education, that was not enough pointing out that one must also have the capacity to deliver.

“At school you are enlightened and guided on the requisite knowledge and that is roughly 25 percent on the ability to work, the rest hinges on one’s performance”, he explained.    

On Tanzania Mainland activities on the commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day were held in Arusha where the former Attorney General and Judge, Mark Boman gave a key note speech in which he stressed that journalists play a crucial role in society.

He urged them to educate not only members of the public but also leaders and members of parliament who sometimes make weird statements like going to the bush in case their view points are not accepted.

The commemoration jointly organized by Media Associations – TAMWA, MCT, TEF, MISATAN, MOAT and UNESCO were preceded by a one-day workshop where several papers on media were presented.

Two journalists also recounted their experiences of press freedom violations during the workshop.

One - Frederick Katulanda, was brutally assaulted and had his baby girl abducted to scare him as he was investigating stories and the other is Edwin Soko who was roughed up while covering a political meeting.

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