Stick to ethics, journalists told

MEDIA practitioners should adhere to ethics and principles governing their profession in order to effectively discharge their duties, the Director of Information Services and Chief Government Spokesperson, Gerson Msigwa has said.

Mr Msigwa said that in a speech read on his behalf  by Senior Public Relation Officer Mr Mawazo Kibamba at a meeting to review and draft recommendations on SDG 16 implementation in relation to freedom of expression, access to information and safety of journalists for Voluntary National Report to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).

He said through the report UNESCO has done considerable work to integrate communication and information in the new UN Cooperation Framework as the initiative cuts across all the key pillars of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) which are people, planet, prosperity and peace, promoting information as a public good throughout the framework.

“Every pillar needs information because it benefits all groups, particularly marginalised population,” Mr Msigwa said.

Adding, “it is my request that we do go further to develop a joint Programme, bringing together all UN, government and CSO actors to work together on this.”

Mr Msigwa said a common joint programme, with this common vision will ensure that Tanzanians, especially those in the most difficult circumstances, participate and benefit from national institutions and systems that promote peace and justice, by improving the capacity to promote and protect access to information and knowledge sharing at all levels.

He said the meeting will help to get feedback on indicators related to freedom of expression, access to information and safety of journalists.

He said the ministry through the Directorate of Information Services will continue to cooperate with the Ministry of Finance, with the hope that this will contribute to the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Tanzania.

The UNESCO Head of Office and Country Representative Mr Michel Toto said organisation aims at building enabling environments and capacities of duty and rights bearers as preconditions for the protection and promoting of all other human rights.

Mr Toto said aligning the Voluntary National Report with other related reporting and review mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) allows for greater policy coherence, coordination and impact and broadens the scope of stakeholders engaged.

He said it has also allowed for better data, policy coherence and multi-stakeholders engagement in fulfilling the pledge to leave no one behind and reach those furthest behind first.

Mr Toto said the importance of press freedom in upholding human rights and the impact of its limitations on all fundamental freedoms is glaringly apparent, particularly during recent emergencies that have affected the world from the Covid 19 pandemic to elections, climate change and environmental issues.

Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) Chairman Mr Deodatus Balile said journalists need to make sure they follow all the basic rules and guidance provided by the specific media as well as those provided by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) in ensuring a more conducive environment of reporting and gathering information.

Mr Balile asked the UN through the Head of the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, Ms Shabnam Mallick to help in provision of good and modern equipment that will promote a good environment for journalists in executing their duties.

He noted that most media are facing financial difficulties that hinder their performance. He asked UNESCO to consider funding the media that are facing financial challenges in their operations.

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