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Journalists covering the courts have been urged to ensure they adhere to professional ethics and report with accuracy.

Opening a specialized training for Journalists reporting from the courts jointly organized by the Judiciary and the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), the Chief Justice Mohamed Chande Othman said it was imperative that news from courts is well and accurately presented.

He said the objective for seeking the media to accurately and correctly present court reports is to maintain and safeguard public trust of the judiciary in administration of justice.

Inaccurate presentation of court news may cause inappropriate interpretation on the role of the court by the members of the public, Chief Justice Othman cautioned in his opening remarks for the two-day training which started on November 25, 2015 at the New Africa Hotel in Dare s Salaam.

The Chief Justice, who cited a number of inaccurate media presentations, also decried the attitude of not following –up court stories to their conclusive ends.

He said many stories most of them of public interest are covered once or twice and the public does not get to know how they ended.

Chief Justice Chande expressed optimism that the training will help improve court reporting and solve some nagging challenges facing journalists such as understanding the ‘legal parlance’ normally used in courts.

He expressed satisfaction that one of the resolutions reached during the first meeting between the media and the media held on December 4, 2014 – that is providing training for journalists and members of the Judiciary has been realized.

He pledged further training for reporters who cover the judiciary pointing that they will also be provided with special identities.

The President of the Governing Board of the Media Council of Tanzania, rtd Justice Thomas Mihayo commended the Chief Justice and the Judiciary for fully sponsoring the training which is attended by journalists and staff members of the judiciary.

He also underscored the importance of accuracy in court reporting and cautioned on the media’s penchant to twist court reports in order to make their stories punchy for selling newspapers.

He said sensation of court news does not reflect well to the public, judiciary as well as magistrates and judges.

Dr. Ayub Rioba from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Dar es Salaam presented a paper on Introduction to General Communication , while the Registrar of Court of Appeal John Kahyoza presented a paper on Judiciary of Tanzania its mandate and structure and two journalists – Faustine Kapama   from the Daily News and Furaha Omary from Uhuru newspaper presented their experiences as journalists in covering the courts.

On the day two – November 26, 2015 - a court official was expected to present a paper on Guideline on Court Reporting ( Peer review of MCT’s books by the Judiciary of Tanzania), the Council’s Manager of Ethics and Arbitration, Allan Lawa will present a paper on MCT Court Report Monitoring, Experience in Print Media and advocate cum journalist   Juma Thomas will make a presentation on “ The implication of Language differences and its effect on Judiciary and the Public”.

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