Mwinyi: Good work, but exercise patriotism in full

BOTH the Union and Zanzibar governments recognise and appreciate the great role played by the media, especially in the development of the nation, but patriotism is still not exercised to the fullest.

That was said by Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi at the climax of the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) in the Island, on Wednesday adding: “Through the media, the public get information about the government’s activities and plans and encourage their participation.”

He further said that the media still has a role in educating the citizens on various topics citing them as entrepreneurship, protecting and sustaining peace, national unity, and promoting the country abroad as well as building a positive image internationally.

Dr Mwinyi noted: “I would like to commend the efforts that have been made by the media in exposing bad deeds that were not reported in the past. These include sexual violence, killing of old women and people with albinism as well as the stereotypes ideas of hiding children with disabilities.”

In his 13 minutes speech, he narrated how exposing the crimes in public has contributed, to a large extent, in taking legal measures and finally building a better society.

He further said: “For the politicians, the media has been helping a lot in explaining to the electorates about policies and the Tanzania we want.

“It is my hope that the media can make a better contribution if you journalists consider patriotism, professionalism and the ethics in your profession. Again, if you are not keen, your industry can weaken development efforts and even endanger peace, stability, and national unity, we currently enjoy,” pointed out Dr Mwinyi.

In a related development, he said that despite the fact that Zanzibar and the Mainland Tanzania were celebrating the WPFD, journalists must still realize that there is no freedom without limit, and no freedom without responsibility.

He added: “As I remind the media practitioners to realise the importance of being patriotic to our country, the WPFD celebrations should be used as an opportunity to place greater emphasis on freedom of expression within the overall human rights agenda; and be used to organise events that highlight the relationship between freedom of the media, freedom of expression and other human rights.

“WPFD should be used to promote environmental issues, women and children’s rights, use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), fighting against and strengthening freedom of expression, considering that human rights are at the centre of decision-making at the regional and national and international level.”

On her part, Zanzibar Minister of Information Youth, Culture and Sports Ms Tabia Maulid Mwita joined by the Information Director (Maelezo) Mr Hassan Khatib Hassan were of the opinion that the Islands and Mainland Tanzania in general have been progressing in terms of press freedom, security and safety of the journalists.

Commenting, the Deputy Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Mr Kundo Mathew delivering greetings from President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Vice-President Dr Phillip Mpango and Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa to President Mwinyi said: “Tanzania has been and still doing well in protecting rights of journalists and improving media freedom.”

Dr Joyce Shebe- National Chairperson, Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) read the resolutions after Journalists discussed topics on Monday and Tuesday, which was among activities to celebrate 30 years of World Press Freedom Day.

The resolutions include Media Organisations and Stakeholders to bring together female Journalists and parliamentarians, as well as female students to discuss the challenges of online abuse to find a better way of addressing it and online advocacy against the vice.

Conduct and/or sponsor digital training, climate change, environmental pollution for journalists to build capacity on these issues and ultimately be able to actively participating in informing, and providing education that will enable citizens to take action;

Defending and protecting the country’s interests in promoting media freedom and human rights rather than prioritizing the interests of donors;

Provide financing and technology to facilitate the operation of gender desks in the media houses; and improving the working environment for journalists, including employment contracts; payment wages in time; and provide health insurance for journalists are other resolutions.

Conduct regular training for journalists, editors, producers and senior managers to increase the value chain in the provision of the right content, marketing and business for the well-being of the media and also, to invest in digital technology, creativity and find different ways to increase income through producing quality content that is focused on the needs of users;

The resolutions also task Journalists to report on marginalized areas and raise the voices of the voiceless so that social and economic challenges facing them can be solved.

“Journalists use their tools to raise the voices of women and special groups including people with disabilities and those living in difficult and dangerous environments,” read Ms Shebe.

Some development partners were also present at the colourful gathering decorated by traditional dance, where the US ambassador Michael Anthony Battle; High Commissioner of Canada Ambassador Kyle Nunes and Switzerland Ambassador Didier Chassot commended the strides being recorded in the country on press freedom, promising continued support.

The UN Resident Coordinator Mr Zlatan Milisic said that the UN family was happy with the ongoing reforms in the country for press freedom and promoting civic space, and they are important in guaranteeing other rights.

World Press Freedom Day 2023: World Press Freedom Day is observed on May 3 every year. The day is celebrated every year to educate the public regarding the role of media on a global level. The day acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect the commitment to press freedom. The day is also a reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.

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