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Media practitioners in Zanzibar have been challenged to strive to broaden and improve their perception and understanding of many issues especially the history of the Isles. Making a presentation on Right to Information during a breakfast meeting organised by the Zanzibar office of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) on March 12, 2013, veteran journalist, Ally Saleh, said these days many journalists are not dynamic and enthusiastic as a result they fail to fulfill their duties.
He said Zanzibar has a rich history on media issues but it appears to have been lost or is known by a limited number of individuals.
“Zanzibar is the first country to print a newspaper in the East African Coast but not many journalists know this”, he said.
Saleh who is also a member of Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), said following the advancement in democracy, human rights and the fact that many international statues are in place, it is imperative for journalists to capitalize on this positive environment to write about people oriented issues.
“The power of the media must be utilized in enlightening and mobilizing the society adding that Zanzibar journalists must drive a special agenda to promote change and sustainable development”, he stressed.
Meanwhile a Zanzibar High Court Judge, Justice Mshibe Ali Bakar, urged journalists to write authentic information which will be absorbed by readers, listeners and viewers.
Justice Mshibe, said journalists for a large part were reporting urban and peri-urban news leaving out important issues of the rural folks.
This, the honourable justice noted that it reflects the media as not being fair to the people living in the rural areas.
“Since the advancement in science and technology facilitates fast transmission of information”, Justice Mshibe said “the media must strive to reach wide audience and expose the myriad problems affecting the people and should not confine itself to reporting politics only”.
Various media practitioners and stakeholders who spoke during the meeting were of the opinion of pressing for more freedom especially in public media.
Earlier the Manager of the Zanzibar office of MCT, Suleiman Seif Omar, said the Council will support initiatives to promote capacity building for journalists in Zanzibar.
He also pointed out that the Council will also support journalists who will get into problems in the course of duty.
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