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The media has been urged to highlight the views given by members of the public on the proposed new constitution of Tanzania.

The appeal was made by the chairperson of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) Justice Joseph Warioba during a meeting with editors from various media outlets on January 2, 2014 held at the Karimjee Hall in Dar es Salaam.

Justice Warioba who was accompanied by the Commission’s deputy chairperson Justice Augustine Ramadhan, some of the commissioners and senior staff of CRC, emphasised to the editors the importance of giving priority of people’s views in their coverage on matters on constitutional change.

He said during the constitutional review process the media had done a great job but, it had given priority to issues on governance and those dealing with leaders pointing out that issues raised by members of the public were not covered adequately.

An explanation during the meeting by the Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), Kajubi Mukajanga, that the mindset of giving priority leadership issues was tuned by the training of journalists that prominent people make news, did not resonate with Warioba’s perception on the role of the media regarding such important development as constitutional review.

Justice Warioba was equally not amused by an attempt by the chairperson of the select team of the Tanzania Editors Forum which prepared the forum’s proposals presented to CRC, Deodatus Balile that those issues that were not highlighted in the media during the constitutional review process were understandable and generally accepted.

Justice Warioba speaking two days after his commission presented its report to the Presidents of Tanzania and Zanzibar – Dr. Jakaya Kikwete and Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein respectively on December 30, 2013, insisted that it was imperative for the media to highlight the views expressed by the people as the constitution is not all about governance but concerns wide range of issues.

The following step in the constitution making process is the appointment of members of the constituent assembly to be followed by the sitting of the assembly and eventually a referendum that would decide on the new constitution.

During the meeting with editors, Justice Warioba responded to questions covering wide ranging issues including the structure of the union government.

On the media, the proposals for the new constitution, have guaranteed rights and media freedom and independence.

End

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