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The Ethics Committee of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) has resolved in style two complaints raised by four Members of

Parliament and the Ministry of Energy and Minerals against Mawio and Tanzania Daima newspapers respectively.

The Committee presided by its Deputy chairperson, Rose Haji Mwalimu in its session on June 16, 2014 held at the Council’s boardroom agreed to a request by the conflicting parties – Mawio and the MPs - Vita Kawawa, Mariam Kasembe, Faith Mitambo and Mtututra A Mtutura to allow them to settle their dispute outside the Committee.

Advocates from the two sides briefed the committee that they had started a dialogue with the aim of reaching an amicable settlement and that they had made good progress.

According to one of the advocates Valentino Daudi of KMVB Law chambers representing the MPs the two parties had a meeting on Sunday June 15, 2014 and had reached an agreement to hold another meeting in Dodoma on June 22, 2014 where the Managing Director and proprietor of Mawio, Saed Kubeneya would meet with the Members of Parliament to iron out the sticking issue of compensation demanded by the offended MPs.

The Committee was told by the advocate of the Mawio’s readiness to pay compensation but it was seeking a reduction of the amount demanded. The MPs are demanding a TZS 5 million each for the damage inflicted on them following a report by the newspaper which associated them with a network of poachers.

Mawio newspaper was represented by advocate John Mallya from Power Advocates.

In a twist of events, officials of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals rejected the Committee’s ruling in the ministry’s dispute with the Tanzania Daima newspaper.

Three officials of the ministry led by the Commissioner for Minerals, Eng. Paul Masanja, said the ministry will seek further legal action against the paper after communicating with the permanent secretary Eliakim Maswi.

The other officials were Dr. Medard Kalemana the ministry’s advocate and Badra Masoud head of Communications in the ministry.

The committee had ruled in the ministry’s favour in the complaint in which Tanzania Daima newspaper was accused of running disparaging articles based on rumours which the ministry had categorically denied and claimed were malicious.

On May 16,2014 Tanzania Daima published a story headlined “Kashfa mpya nishati na madini” ( new scandal at the energy and minerals) and on May 24 the paper ran another story on Escrow Account headlined “ Vigogo watosana ufisadi wa Escrow”.

The committee had ruled that Tanzania Daima should run an apology and carry interviews with ministry officials to clear the polluted air.

It had totally dismissed explanations given in defense by the paper’s editor Edison Kamukara.

However the Committee could not entertain a punitive demand of TZS 2 billion compensation by the ministry.

Committee chairperson, Rose Haji said the committee does not have the mandate to impose punitive penalties as it operated on the spirit of mediation.

After seeking time to consult their superiors, the ministry official came back into the boardroom to report that they would further avenues for legal redress.

While granting the request, the Secretary of the Committee who is also the Executive Secretary of the Council, Kajubi Mukajanga, said the Ethics committee was an independent body that does not take instructions from outside.

However he cautioned that the ruling reached by the committee cannot be used in court but if the court is interested it can invite the Committee as a friend of court.

Another complaint against Tanzania Daima brought by Air Tanzania Limited was adjourned to a date to be fixed later after, it emerged that the complainant was not present and represented by an advocate.

End

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