IN many media houses in developing countries, journalists face common challenges in accomplishing their duties: low salaries, lack of trainings, lack of working tools and working for too long without being employed.
Other challenges for journalists in both private and public media are lack of job promotion, difficult working environment and lack of job security or working without contract. Politicians have always promised to solve these problems but when it comes to implementation nothing is done.
Mr Yassin Omar and Ms Khadija Ali are among young journalists who have worked for five years in different media houses without employment. They complain of the same problems mentioned above, but their immediate bosses, editors or managers do not take any action.
It is high time for journalists working in the public media to start celebrating as top leaders in the government led by President Ali Mohamed Shein have directed media managers to improve the working environment so that journalists get what they deserve.
“We need to see that public media houses are modern and this should include improving the welfare of journalists,” Dr Shein said when he met leaders and workers of the Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). He said that ZBC -- established six years ago -- is still new and undergoes reforms so that it can operate digitally.
“But workers should know that in the course of growth, challenges always emerge. Be patient as the government is committed to improve your living conditions,” he explained. Dr Shein said the government has already spent millions of shillings in reforming and upgrading ZBC, which include purchase of modern equipment for the television studio.
“We need to achieve our goal of having public media houses competing with other media houses regionally and globally,” the president said. Dr Shein challenged the Ministry for Information, Tourism, and Antiquities to spearhead reforms in the public media houses.
“In planning with little funds, you have to set priorities. The government is fully committed to support the development of journalists and the media,” he explained.