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Media Council of Tanzania Website
The Parliament should not allow its Members to cast aspersions against institutions and
individuals who cannot respond in the august house.
Reacting to remarks by Member of Parliament of South Kondoa Constituency, Juma Nkamia, that the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) and the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) were only NGOs assuming the role of overseeing the media, the Executive Secretary of MCT, Kajubi Mukajanga said it was a very unfortunate statement from an MP who has been working very closely with the Council.
He told a press conference held at the MCT’s offices on May 26, 2013 that Members of Parliament should not take advantage of parliamentary privileges and regulations to unleash disparaging remarks against institutions and individuals.
Nkamia made his claims when contributing to the budget estimates speech of the ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports for 2013/14.
Apart from negating the roles played by MCT and TEF, Nkamia welcomed a move by the government present a bill for a legislation which will establish a body to regulate and control the media.
Mukajanga responding to questions during the press conference urged the Speaker or whoever presides during parliamentary sessions to ask MPs who make stunning allegations against institutions and individuals who are not able to respond in the house to substantiate their claims and give proof as they always ask those who make unsubstantiated allegations against the government.
He said the claims by Nkamia that the Right to Information legislation was calamitous and his aspersions against the MCT were tantamount to laying ground for the establishment of a callous body by the government to suppress the media and thus hindering and thwarting the basic foundations of democracy, good governance, transparency and accountability.
He emphasised that it was very unfortunate that Nkamia who was a media practitioner before becoming “honorable MP” would make such statement against the media fraternity.
In September last year, Nkamia then Deputy chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Community Development, led a delegation of Members of Parliament and the Zanzibar House of Representative on a one-week study tour in India to get the grips of how the country implements the right to Information legislation.
The study tour was organized by MCT and the Council’s Executive Secretary, Mukajanga, explained then the goal was to clear any lingering doubts on the efficacy of the legislation.
On his return from the tour, Nkamia was quoted by the media praising the legislation as it has made the Indian Government more responsive, transparent, responsible and accountable.
During the press conference apart from countering Nkamia aspersions, Mukajanga who is also the President of the World Association Press Councils (WAPC) listed and narrated the many achievements attained by MCT since its establishment in 1995.
He said the Council will not allow the good work it has done almost for two decades of its existence to be trampled up.
The Council, he added is credited for a long history of mediation o cases between the public and media outlets. This service was also utilized by the high and mighty in the country including Vice President Dr. Omar Ali Juma two former prime ministers and ministers.
Mukajanga said that the country which is entrusted by the media fraternity in overseeing the adherence to professional code of ethics has also been supporting in-service training of journalists.
MCT has also formulated a standardized curriculum for training of journalists from basic to diploma levels which has been endorsed by the National Council for Technical Education (NACTE).
Mukajanga also said that the Council is cited as a success story of Self regulatory bodies in the region and the world and that other countries either come to learn from the Council or the Council send representatives to those countries to assist in establishing their self regulatory bodies..
He mentioned some of the countries that regard MCT as learning curve include Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Africa.
MCT was established as a pre-emptive move to block the government to set up a regulatory body following the proliferation of media outlets after the industry was liberalized in early 90s.
TEF which was not spared by Nkamia’s aspersions is a forum that brings together editors from various media outlets.
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