PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan is expected to join members of the media fraternity to celebrate this year’s World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) to be marked nationally in Zanzibar on 3rd May, 2023.
Chief Government Spokesperson and Director of Information Services Mr Gerson Msigwa, revealed this at a press conference held here on Sunday, adding that the festivity begins today with conferences to be facilitated by different leaders.
He further said President Samia deciding to join the celebration is a testimony that she is committed to seeing the development of journalists and the media industry in the country given priority.
“Since she ascended to power, Dr Samia has been promoting press freedom and development of the media. She has issued several directives including at the Africa Media conference hosted by Tanzania last year, where she issued orders that the government must work with the media for the prosperity of the country,” pointed out Mr Msigwa, adding that the government still receives recommendations for the WPFD-2023 mark in the Island.
During the media WPFD meeting in Arusha last year, Dr Samia urged editors, journalists, government officials, diplomats, donor agencies and media partners to “come up with better and friendly laws and regulations that would protect journalists and open more space for the freedom of expression and the media.
Addressing the media here yesterday, Government Information Services (Maelezo) Director, Mr Hassan Khatib noted that President Hussein Ali Mwinyi also remains a true friend of the media and journalists to the extent of establishing monthly media engagement at the State House.
He further said Dr Mwinyi also directed those laws and policies, which might infringe media freedom to be reviewed.
On her part, the WPFD organising team chairperson, Dr Rose Reuben informed reporters that more than 300 people including journalists and stakeholders from Mainland Tanzania and abroad are expected to attend today’s meeting.
She said the event will involve Media exhibitions and Awards to best Journalists/media owners and stakeholders who have contributed highly to the development of the industry in the country.
She added: “Topics of discussion before the climax on May 3, 2023 will include 30 Years of World Press Freedom Day: Strengthening media contribution to achieving sustainable development.”
Other topics are Media for the Sustainable Development Goals: A Flagship Programme Promoting Information for People, Planet, Prosperity and Peace.
The list also highlighted the Interactive Reflection and discussion on Professionalism in the Media Sector: Addressing Hate Speech, and Tackling Misinformation and Disinformation.
In a related development, Dr Reuben thanked UNESCO for sponsoring the event, adding that it will be attended by Zanzibar Minister for Information, Youth, Culture and Sports Ms Tabia Mwita Maulid and her Mainland counterpart Mr Nnape Moses Nnauye.
For 30 years now, May 3rd annually has been a day when the world celebrates freedom of expression and stands together for its protection. This is the spirit of the 1991 Declaration of Windhoek, whose anniversary- the United Nations General Assembly chose for World Press Freedom Day.