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The Coalition for Right to Information headed by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) has engaged members

of the Constituent Assembly and appealed to them to ensure that two pertinent provisions on freedom of information and press freedom are retained in the final statute.

In a seminar for members of the CA held in Dodoma on August 10, 2014 the new President of the Governing Board of MCT, rtd Justice Thomas Mihayo lead the coalition team in appealing for the retention of the two provisions for freedom of information articles 30 and 31 as proposed in the second draft of the proposed constitution.

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Justice Mihayo opened the seminar which attracted over 80 CA members.

Pili Mtambalike, the Regulation and Standards Manager of the Council, in her presentation during the seminar emphasised the importance of Right to information as a catalyst for economic, political, social progress, justice, transparence and accountability.

She said the people have the right to inquire and to be informed on the pace of development in various areas such as education and health and infrastructure development.

A member of the Think Tank on Freedom of Expression and Media Issues of MCT and who is also a member of the CA, Ali Uki in his presentation before the seminar, cited the constitutions of several countries in Africa including neighbouring countries such as Kenya which have accommodated freedom of Information.

Responding to the pertinent issues raised in the presentations some members of CA expressed disappointment with some sections of the media which do not adhere to professional ethics.

Some of the members were critical of media outlets which publish unbalanced and sometimes distorted information.

They were skeptic of granting freedom to such irresponsible media outlets.

Apart from the seminar, members of the Coalition also engaged CA members in one on one and group discussion on the importance of right to information and pointed out to them that the benefits of Rights to Information outweigh the problems that were raised by some CA members during the seminar.

This is the second time for MCT whose Executive Secretary, Kajubi Mukajanga is a CA member, to engage members of the Constituent Assembly. It had initially had a luncheon meeting with some of them.

 

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