Govt reaffirms commitment to elevate media economic status

THE government has reaffirmed its commitment to have in place systems and guidelines that will transform and improve the media industry into an economically stable sector and journalists’ improved welfare.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Mr Nape Nnauye said the government has given a nine-member committee mandate, he formed to evaluate economic status of the media another six months, to research more and come up with comprehensive and well researched report to bring out the needed changes.

The Minister in January this year formed a nine -people committee to assess the economic status of media houses as well as Tanzanian journalists’ welfare and given 90-days to accomplish the task.

He said after meeting the committee under, Mr Tido Mhando, and taking into account President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan latest directive that the committee should not rush to have in place a comprehensive report, Minister Nape endorsed a six-month extension.

“I urge journalists and stakeholders to contribute their ideas and recommendations as we have to come up with a roadmap that works as a proper model for improved economies of the media industry,” said Mr Nape.

Adding: “I am also satisfied with the committee’s notable job so far, and this promises that major transformation in the media industry were in offing”.

He said the government will start paying in installment verified media institutions debt in 2023/24 financial years starting July 1 this year. He said the government must pay debts it owes media institutions.

“I know media institutions are owed by the councils, public  institutions and ministries billions of money, for the verified ones, the government will start paying in installments until they are completed, as we know, the media institutions have been hugely affected by the Covid-19 effects and Ukraine and Russia war,” said Minister Nape.

The Committee Chairperson, Mr Tido Mhando said the extension will give them a room to research properly, so that they come up with tangible recommendations which will assist the government to make proper decisions to improve the economies of the journalists and media at large.

He said they will submit the report in November this year that entails a roadmap for changing the economic status of the media houses and scribes.

Equally, he said this will assure the media houses and scribes of their future and removing the bad image that they are beggars.

This year, Minister Nape formed the committee following the President’s instruction to form one that will assess the economic status of media houses and journalists as well as give recommendations on how to improve the situation.

The committee was formed to evaluate the economic status of the media industry, thus the committee will work to find out information regarding media economic and operational status.

The committee headed by Mr Mhando, Chief Executive of Azam Media Group, has a major responsibility to assess the economic status of journalists in their respective media houses.

He said they need to know journalists’ employment status, their income and how their employment contracts are respected; “We need information from both employed, non-employed, contract holders, regional representatives and others who collaborate with our media in implementing media industry activities.”

Nape mentioned other duties to be performed by the committee as to recommend the best ways to deal with economic and operational challenges in the media houses- so as to find ways to improve journalist’s working conditions and their lives.

He said that in the recommendation that will be made by the committee, some will be implemented by the media itself, the government and other stakeholders to ensure that media and journalist’s economy grows equally.

Nape also asked the committee to form a system that will enable them to receive online views and ensure that it works, so as to allow the government to work on those challenges to improve the media industry and journalist’s economic and operational status.

Besides Mhando, the committee  also  comprises Gerson Msigwa-the Chief Government Spokesperson as Secretary, Dr  Rose Reuben Director of Tanzania Media Women Association  (TAMWA), Joyce Muhavile Director of ITV and Radio One and Sebastian Manganga Head of Content Clouds Media Group.

Others are Bakari Machumu Director of Mwananchi Communication Ltd, Keneth Simbaya the Director of Tanzania Press Clubs Union, Jackline Woiso Director of Mult-Choice Tanzania and Richard Mwaikenda Journalist from CCM Blog.

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