Third data journalism award 2023 launched in Zanzibar 

THE third data journalism award- 2023 has been launched here with the call on journalists to strengthen story writing that include statistics as part of the campaign to promote gender parity in leadership roles in Zanzibar.

“Journalists should ensure that data are included in their stories and features articles because detailed stories set up good argument for policy and law review in efforts to push for 50/50 per cent gender equality in leadership roles,” Dr Mzuri Issa Ali, director, Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA)-Zanzibar said when announcing the start of receiving the entries for the awards.

She said this at the press conference held at TAMWA- Zanzibar offices, Tunguu in Unguja South region where she emphasised to employers, appointing authorities and electorates that Women have proved to be competent in leadership roles, therefore must be appointed or elected.

She said more efforts are needed to change some of the existing laws, policies and systems that appear to obstruct from contesting in elections, or being appointed, in order to achieve gender equality in the country,

Dr Ali pointed out that despite the various efforts and measures taken by the government to ratify national and international agreements, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “We still need more to be done to increase.

“In Zanzibar, so far, statistics indicate only six women out of 18 ministers, or 33.3 per cent, one out of seven deputy ministers, equivalent to 14.3 per cent. Only five out of 12 permanent secretaries and one out of the five regional commissioners in Zanzibar,” she said.

She praised President Samia Suluhu Hassan and President Hussein Ali Mwinyi for promoting women leadership, since taking up their positions in 2021 and 2020 respectively.

Dr Mzuri said that ‘Data Journalism in Gender Award’ is a SWIL project supported by the Norwegian Embassy in Tanzania, implemented by TAMWA-Zanzibar, Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA) and the Gender and Environmental and Gender Advocacy Council (PEGAO).

The main objective of the Award competition under the slogan “My Voice, My Right,” which started in 2021, is to encourage journalists to write stories that include data and also promote the rights of women and children by conducting awareness activities including the use of media through print, electronic and social media.

He asked the journalists to collect their work and submit it in time at the TAMWA-Zanzibar offices located in Tunguu and Machomanne in the island of Pemba by December 31, this year. The criteria to be considered include quality of the work presented, the uniqueness of the topic, gender balance, use of data, multiple sources of information, relevance and the impact of the news.

The director stressed that all works must have been published or broadcast in the Tanzanian media only, where in the case of radio and television, they should not exceed 30 minutes with good quality.

Giving an assessment of the 2022 award, the former Chairman of the judges, Dr Abdalla Mohammed Juma, said that despite several shortcomings seen in the submitted reports, the level of writing has started to improve and gives hope to continued women rights advocacy in the country.

The Senior Programme Officer of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) Ms Shifaa Said Hassan, praised the efforts of TAMWA-Zanzibar for promoting the award, expressing her hope that it will achieve its goals in data journalism and to advocate the increase of women in leadership roles.

“We want new stories and features articles that bring impact,” she said. Last year (2022) a total of 421 entries were received and assessed to select winners.

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