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The Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania, Kajubi Mukajanga, has said the Council always tries to be effective in pressing for media issues with the government.

“We do not compete with the government…we respect good governance as we do not wish for anarchy, “ Mukajanga told a seven member delegation from Rwanda and South Sudan which visited the Council offices on November 11, 2013 to learn on its operations based on self regulation and handling of complaints and adjudicating cases.

Both countries are seeking to establish self-regulatory media councils fashioned on the MCT model.

He told the delegation from the two countries that government will always be government and advised them not to get into the business of unnecessary antagonism with the government. Rather they should seek ways of working together for the good of the media.

Explaining the experience of MCT, Mukajanga said that it always tells the government why it was wrong on certain issues related to media.

Mukajanga narrated the history and background of the establishment of the MCT pointing that it was started as a pre-emptive measure to stop the government from establishing a statutory media council.

The decision to establish the Council was endorsed by media practitioners in 1995 and the Council became operational in 1997 after it was registered by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the societies ordinance.

He told the delegation that it was not a plain sailing exercise because its registration was subject of the commendation of the parent ministry – The ministry of Information.

Initially the main activities of the council were the maintenance of ethical conduct and improving professionalism as its founding coincided with the mushrooming of media outlets following the advent of liberalization policy in the country.

The Council’s activities have now increased tremendously to include lobbying and advocacy for media friendly legislations, organizing training for practicing journalists, conducting research, producing various media related publications, and awarding journalists for excellence annually.

The Council in collaboration with the National Council for Technical Training, he said, has prepared a journalism training curriculum for media training institutes. The Curriculum is for basic certificate, Technical certificate and diploma.

Mukajanga presented the Rwandese and the Southern Sudan journalists with the Council’s Constitution and the Dar es Salaam Declaration of Editorial Independence and Declaration prepared by the MCT’s Think Tank on Freedom of Expression and Media Issues.

The delegation from South Sudan is composed of the Chief editor of The Juba Monitor Newspaper, Alfred Taban, the Chief Editor of The Citizen Newspaper and TV and Stephen Tut, the editor of The South Sudan Post Newspaper while the delegation of Rwanda is made up of the Chairman of the Rwanda Media Council, Fred Muvunyi and two of its commissioners – Nkaka Raphael and Bahati Prince.

The team was led by Patrick Mutahi a Senior Programme Officer - Safety and Protection of the Article 19 office based in Nairobi, Kenya which facilitated the study tour.

Apart from visiting the media Council the team also met with the Managing Editor of New Habari, Absalom Kibanda, who was badly assaulted by unknown assailants early this year. They were also scheduled to meet with the Vice President of the Union of Press Clubs Tanzania (UTPC) Jane Mihanji and visit the offices of Media Institute of Southern Africa Tanzania chapter (MISA-Tan).

After their two day visit in Tanzania, they will go to Kenya for a similar visit.

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