ZANZIBAR President, Dr Hussein Mwinyi on Tuesday challenged public broadcasters in the Southern Africa region to embrace technology lest they lose relevance.
“You have to create, manage and implement firm and measurable strategies to cope with the technological changes in the world,” President Mwinyi told the Southern Africa Broadcasting Association’s (SABA) 30th general meeting here.
He called for heavy investments in the procurement of working infrastructure and modern equipment to enable public broadcasters to compete in the contemporary world of science and technology.
“Unless we strategically change with technology; time will forceful change us. And, if we wait time to change us, we risk rendering our entities irrelevant and unattractive to the public,” he warned.
Dr Mwinyi reminded the meeting delegates of the key role that the media, especially radio, television and social network plays in economic growth, national integration and political prosperity in southern Africa and the entire African continent.
“You have to embrace innovation and ensure that the information and broadcasting sub-sector provides true and authentic news to wananchi,” President Mwinyi said, appreciating the critical role that the media plays in social, political, cultural and economic development of any society.
He informed the meeting that Tanzania and some SABA member countries have agreed to empower their public broadcasters in having their own reliable sources of income to effectively promote, preserve and market the African culture.
He said Tanzania through the ministry of information, communication and information technology is enacting a law that will identify the responsibilities of Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) and other related matters to allow the public broadcaster to deliver efficiently.
President Mwinyi challenged other SABA members to emulate Tanzania in empowering their respective public broadcasters.
SABA President, Stanley Benjamin said the regional grouping in public broadcasting is determined to disseminate authentic information in the region and Africa.
“SABA is an important element in business because we want to tell authentic African stories,” he said, adding: “There are beautiful stories to tell about Africa and we must be the writers; not otherwise.”
The President decried an alarming wave of fake news in the media, saying public broadcasters must have the skills and capacity to tell genuine from fake news.
He said public media have the role to report on well researched ills in governments but, ” …balance reporting should remain key to our work; everybody must have an opportunity to be heard.”
TBC Director General, Dr Ayubu Rioba described the hosting of the meeting as a privilege to Tanzania, saying it’s the third out of SABA’s 30 meetings to be convened in the country.