ZANZIBAR Minister for Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, Ms Tabia Maulid Mwita has called on members of the media to work responsibly for the development of the people they serve.
Officiating at the opening of the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD)’s three-day conference on Monday, the minister said journalists can make a great contribution in ensuring the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s 2020-2025 election manifesto is implemented and the 2030 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are achieved.
She said that the country needs journalists/media to play their part by being responsible and that President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Zanzibar President Hussein Mwinyi deserve praise for promoting democracy and media freedom in the country.
“We have made admirable strides in the development of democracy and press freedom under President Samia and Dr Mwinyi’s leadership. But we need to support our leaders by being responsible journalists in promoting development, peace and stability,” she said.
Ms Mwita informed the gathering here that efforts to promote media freedom and the rights of journalists has been going on and that the new Media Law for Zanzibar is almost ready for tabling in the House of Representatives for deliberation and approval.
“The upcoming Media Law bill has accommodated almost all what was suggested by journalists and media stakeholders. We hope it will be among the best media laws as we also had to look at the media laws in East African countries,” she said.
She thanked development partners led by UNESCO, organisers led by the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), and the Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology in the Union government for collaboration in developing the media industry.
The minister said the world including Tanzania faces two main challenges: environment degradation and pollution, and climate change, issues that need journalists/media attention to achieve the SDGs at national level.
“Both Zanzibar and Union governments are fully committed to protecting and safeguarding journalists. President Samia has been implementing multiple projects for the interest of its people,” she said.
“Our colleagues in the Mainland are preparing for the local government elections next year (2024). This is a time when journalists and the media should promote peace and political stability,” she urged.
Ms Joyce Shebe from TAMWA said at the opening of session of the WPFD that despite achievement recorded in press freedom in recent years, journalists and the media still face challenges including economic hardship in media houses, safety, gender imbalance particularly in management positions in the media houses, issues that must be addressed.
During the panel discussion chaired by veteran journalists Mr Ally Saleh on the ‘Strengthening media contribution to achieving sustainable development,’ panelist Mr Salim Said Salim- urged journalists to have the culture of reading, making follow-ups, and be proactive in their role to achieve the SDGs.”