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Media Council of Tanzania Website
Media stakeholders are studying the – Access to Information Bill and the Media Services Bill with the a view of coming up with common proposals to improve them.
The Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania, Kajubi Mukajanga has said there are certain provisions in the proposed bills which do not auger well with the position of stakeholders.
He cited the aspect of licensing of journalists as proposed in the Media services as something which is not accepted and is not practiced anywhere else in the world.
He said the idea of licensing journalists is aimed at selecting likeable journalists and is not fair.
Apart from the two bills media stakeholders are also studying two other bills which have already been passed by the National Assembly and are awaiting presidential assent.
He said the stakeholders are determined to ask the President not to assent the two bills – one on National Statistics and another Cyber crime in their current composition.
The bills were endorsed by Parliament during its March, 2015 session and while the bills on Media Services and Access to Information were tabled during the session for first reading.
The initial plan by the government was to table the Access to Information bill and the Media Services bill under certificate of urgency which was roundly objected by media stake holders.
The government apparently caved in to the intense lobbying by media stakeholders and tabled the bills for first reading.
Dr. Fennella Mukangara, the Minister for Information Youth, Culture and Sports stated the reasons and objectives for the Media Services Act as putting into existence the legal framework for promoting professionalism in media section, providing for coordinated responsibilities among the regulators and any other matters.
The Bill which is divided in nine parts, in part one deals with preliminary provision whereby provisions on short title and commencement, application and interpretation are contained.
Part two of the bill deals with Media Services Board and it contains the provisions on establishment of the Board, functions of the Board, powers of the Board, tenure, proceedings and remuneration of members, Director of Media Services, the procedures for licensing and complaint procedure whereas part three deals with media houses and institutions whereby the provisions on type of media houses and ownership, obligations of media houses, accreditation of journalists, press card and roll of journalist are contained.
Accreditation of journalists is dealt squarely in part four which contains provisions of accreditation of journalists, press and roll of journalists.
Accordingly, journalists will be licensed and their qualifications highly upgraded.
According to the Minister, part five of the Bill deals with Tanzania Information Services and it contains provisions on Tanzania information services and functions of Tanzania information services while part six deals with Media Services Fund whereby Media Services Fund and sources of funds are provided.
Defamation is dealt in part seven which contains the provisions on defamation, definition of unlawful publication, cases in which publication is absolutely privileged; cases in which publication is conditionally privileged, offer of amends and redress of defamation.
Part eight deals with offences and it provides for offences relating to media services, offences in relation to publication, seditious intention, seditious offences, publication likely to cause fear and alarm, offences by corporation or societies and liability of employer or principal and part nine deals with general provision whereby provisions on powers to prohibit importation of publication, power of seizure, service of process and notice, risk insurance, regulations, repeals and transitional are contained.
On her part Dr. Asha Rose Migiro Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs stated the objectives and reasons for the Access to Information Act, 2015 as aimed at enhancing access to information and promoting transparency and accountability of public authorities and private bodies that are in possession of information which is of significant public interest.
Recognizing that access to information is a right bestowed on the citizens of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Bill intends to promote proactive publication, dissemination and access to information by the public in furtherance of that right. The Bill is divided into Four Parts:
Note: The Access to Information and Media Services Bills can be accessed on Website of the Media Council of Tanzania – www.mctor,tz - or click the link below
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