President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete has said that Journalism is a dignified and trusted
profession and appealed to media practitioners to abide by the professional code of ethics in discharging their duties.
“The media is not supposed to distort the truth and to lie as this is not compatible with the profession”, the President said during the Excellence in Journalism (EJAT) 2011 Gala Night on Friday March 30 when journalists were awarded for outstanding performance during the year.
The President presented a trophy, certificate and a TZS 10,000 cheque to veteran journalist, editor and media trainer, Fili Karashani, who scooped the Lifetime Achievement Award.
He also presented a trophy, certificate and USD 4,000 to Neville Meena of Mwananchi who emerged the overall winner of EJAT 2011.
Thirty six other print, radio and television journalists won prizes in different contested categories of EJAT 2011.
In his address, the President also decried the tendency of reporting to incite hatred and at time to use the media to fix someone one dislikes for no apparent reason.
This is not appropriate, he said, insisting that the media is dependable in the society and there is no alternative to it.
He opposed the use of obscene photographs in media which he said was not only disgusting but immoral and unethical too
The president appealed to the media to be more nationalistic in their reporting.
It is dismaying, the president noted that some local media reports portray the country negatively and hopeless.
It is surprising as this is our country and we do not have any other country to turn to, he said.
He cited two projects – a road which would go through the Serengeti National Park and construction of an airport at Mugumu which attracted a lot criticism from the media.
He said there was no need for the media to criticize the road project as it would benefit the people living in the area where the road would pass.
As for the airport he explained it would facilitate easy travels for tourists who after landing at Kilimanjaro and toured the tourists attractions in the Serengeti to fly out from Mugumu instead of returning to Kilimanjaro international airport for their flights.
We have to be nationalistic in our reporting because some of the issues like the cited projects are opposed by our rivals, he said.
The President was also critical of corruption permeating in the media and challenged media owners to ensure improved remuneration, and good working conditions for journalists.
He said there are reports that the working conditions in some media houses are not good.
Most journalists are not employed, and if they are, they do not receive salaries regularly, he said.
Such journalists he said can be easily bought and used as mercenaries.
On training, he pledged the government will support the training of journalists in order to raise their skills and capacity in articulating and reporting issues.
He promised government sponsorship to media trainees in the country’s universities.
The president promised the media will continue to enjoy the freedom in their operations.
He said there are now more media outlets - television, newspapers, and radios as compared to the pre-1990’s liberalization of the media industry.
He also assured the media that the government was serious in the process of enacting a new media law.
He also pledged to support the MCT and partners in rewarding journalists for best performance.