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Bills for two pertinent legislations – the Access to Information and Media Services will be presented to the on-going session of the

National Assembly in Dodoma under certificate of urgency.

The Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) Kajubi Mukajanga speaking on March 17, 2015 expressed concern as to why the two bills which the media fraternity has been pressing for their presentation before the august house in the last ten years are tabled under the certificate of urgency.

This he said means that the move will not provide opportunity for the public, stakeholders and media to discuss or have their inputs accommodated in the much awaited legislations.

It is worrying why these bills are pushed under the certificate of urgency.

He elaborated that when bills are tabled in this style, they do not go through the normal practice that of first reading when a bill is first introduced in parliament – Second reading when Members of Parliament discuss it and finally the third reading when it is presented for enactment.

Under the certificate of urgency, the bills would simply sail through without going through those elaborate stages.

The suspicion for tabling the bills under such situation is that they may have hidden and restrictive elements.

According to the MCT Executive Secretary, the Access to information bill may not be negative but the Media Services Bill may be more worrying as there are indication that the government was out to set conditions of restricting media practice and setting up its own Media Control Body.

However on the Access to Information he questioned that if the bill is about facilitating wananchi to access information why   is shrouded in secrecy?

Meanwhile   media stakeholders were making frantic efforts to get the bills to know the gist of their contents and try to press on their views.

In the ten year period that the media stakeholders were pushing for the enactment of the media legislations, under the leadership of MCT, they had presented the Government with proposals on Media Services Bill in 2008 and Right to Information in 2007.

The government had been dragging its feet on acting on the proposals.

The President Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete had twice promised to have the Access to Information or Freedom to Information legislation enacted by Parliament - the latest was January this year but it was not presented in the January session of the House.

Members of Parliament on their part have been pressing the Government to enact new media legislations.

End

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