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EACBossMedia practitioners should have insurance coverage to ensure they work in better, safe and secure environment.

This was one of the key resolutions reached  by over 200 media practitioners and stakeholders  from four East African countries  - Tanzania, Uganda,  Kenya and Rwanda at the end of a two – day meeting held  in Arusha  to commemorate the  World Press Freedom Day marked worldwide on May 3, every year.

The resolutions resonates the conference’s theme – Safer and better working environment for journalists in East Africa.

It was noted during the meeting that media practitioners in the region were faced with threats from numerous interest groups- business, politics and even governments.

Other areas covered in the resolution dubbed the Arusha Media Declaration (AMEDE)  include an appeal to media owners to better remunerations and benefits for  media practitioners and  to  facilitate enabling working  atmosphere  by  providing better working tools  and  training for  media practitioners.

A fund to support Tanzanian journalists who may be persecuted was started during the meeting which ended on May 4, 2013.

The Fund named after fallen journalist, Daudi Mwangosi, was established with TZS 10 million as seed money provided by the Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPS). The amount was beefed by pledges and cash donations during an evening bash to the tune of TZS 26 million.

Media Colleagues from Kenya and Uganda also contributed toward the Daudi Mwangosi Fund.

The widow of the late Mwangosi, Itika Mwangosi was earlier given TZS 5 million as support to initiate a project to generate revenue for the upkeep of the family.

She was handed the bank account statement for the contribution made by UTPC by the Secretary General of the East African Community, Dr.  Richard Sezibwa, who officially opened the meeting.

during a political rumpus involving the opposition party Chadema at a village in Iringa region on September 2, 2012.

Opening the meeting, Dr. Sezibwa urged the media to invest and to be resolute in the promotion of peace in the region so as to build a stronger East Africa.

“You have the power and responsibility to mobilize for a viable regional integration”,   he said and urged the media to tell the East African story.

It is unfortunate, he said, that sometimes the media in our countries quote foreign media outlets like the CCN - the American Television network- on matters of east africa.

“CNN must quote you and not otherwise”, Dr. Sezibwa said stressing the need for the local media to invest in “telling our story’.

The meeting was also addressed by the Swedish Ambassador, Lennarth Hjelmaker who emphasised the importance and the  role of  the media in the society.

He said his country attaches high priority to the freedom of media and explained that   is because a well functioning media promotes good governance, transparence and accountability adding that it helps the voiceless to be held and also forming public agenda.

He stressed the need for provision of enabling environment by improving laws, codes to promote editorial freedom.

Vibeke Jensen the UNESCO country Director to Tanzania who underscored that freedom of expression is a fundamental right, acknowledged that journalists face new threats and are targeted.

She strongly castigated the climate of impunity which exists today as more and more media practitioners are threatened.

“We must show resolve and commitment   against this trend “, she said and urged governments to protect journalists - online and offline so that everybody will be able to speak freely.

Resident Director of  Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Rolf Paasch, commended media  organizations in the country for  jointly organizing this year’s  meeting on World Press Freedom  Day pointing out that such unity strengths media’s lobby and advocacy capacity.

Paasch used the occasion to officially launch  The African Media Barometer report for Tanzania for 2012.

The State of the Media prepared by the Media Council of Tanzania for 2012 was also launched during the meeting.

Presentations on Motivation for Media owners to transform their media Houses, Media Transformation in East Africa; The case study of Tanzania; Human rights situation and processes (an international perspective and on Country media situations (safety and security of journalists and editors were made during the meeting.

The meeting was jointly organized by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) Media institute of Southern Africa – Tanzania chapter MISA-Tan, UTPC, Tanzania Editor’s Forum, Media Owners Association (MOAT), FES, United Nation Tanzania, Tanzania Media Fund, and Tanzania Citizen Information Bureau (TCIB).

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