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Media Council of Tanzania Website
The Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) has expressed deep concern and disappointed over riots
which occurred in Mtwara on May 22, 2013 resulting in loss of life and property and paralyzing social services.
In a statement by the Executive Secretary of the Council, Kajubi Mukajanga, on May 23, 2013, appealed to the government to take all necessary steps to quell the riots and maintain tranquility in the town.
Mukajanga emphasised that it was imperative for the state to ensure safety and security of journalists and civilians.
It has been reported journalists were targeted by the mobs of rioters for unspecified reasons forcing three of them to go into hiding.
Mukajanga in his statement named the three as Kassim Mikongolo of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) who had his house, a car and tricycle torched.
The others are Hassan Simba who writes for Habari Leo – the government Kiswahili newspaper who was threatened but was saved by the Police and Rashid Musa who reports for Uhuru Newspaper owned by the ruling party CCM who is also reported to have been threatened.
The rioters are opposed to the government’s move to construct a pipeline which will transport natural gas from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam.
The riots were started after a speech in parliament the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, on May 22, in which he reiterated the government’s position of proceeding with the construction of the pipeline to transport gas.
Following the riots, Parliament suspended the debate on the budget estimates for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals for 2013/14 ostensibly till calm returns in Mtwara.
Mukajanga also requested owners of media outlets with correspondents in Mtwara, to take steps to ensure their security and safety and should not take measures which would not put them at risk. .
He also appealed to the journalists in Mtwara to be careful and should not put them in harm’s way.
In another development, the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) condemned the violence pointing out that it was not the appropriate way to express dissatisfactions and sentiments of the people of Mtwara.
The TEF position was reached during an emergence meeting called to discuss the violence in Mtwara.
It was decided during the meeting that all newspapers should editorials on their May 24, 2013 issues, focused on condemning the use of violence and appeal to the government to maintain order.
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