Media outlets have been challenged to take the driver’s seat in pushing the agenda of Media Council of Tanzania (MCT).
The Executive Secretary of MCT, Kajubi Mukajanga, said it was sad that media outlets were not in the fore front in pushing the Council’s agenda adding that it is important they take their rightful place.
He was speaking during the first ever consultative summit organized by MCT.
“I would like you people to drive the agenda”, he told the over 40 editors who converged for the summit held at Nashera Hotel in Morogoro from June 4 to 6, 2012. The consultative summit will be held annually.
He said that the opportunities at the council’s are demand driven but the editors are not making use of the Council’s resources.
Mukajanga in his contribution during the meeting also spoke on numerous issues including the importance of ombudsman and investigative journalism.
On the issue of ombudsman, he expressed disappointment after the only known ombudsman appointed by the New Habari, Balinangwe Mwambungu was appointed editor.
He noted that it appeared that publishers and the CEO’s do not value the contributions of ombudsman and in Mwambugu’s case; the authorities appear not to know “how much he saved the company from court cases and their prohibitive awards”.
Editors, Mukajanga said, must weigh things before changing operating systems pointing out that the newsroom is the engine of a media outlet and not any other department.
On Investigative journalism, Mukajanga dispelled the notion of bravery and fear saying that no story is worth the life of a journalist.
Unlike other views expressed during the meeting urging journalist to be daring and fearless in the course of pursuing stories, Mukajanga cautioned that there is a difference between journalism and adventurism.
He said investigative journalism is about skills, expertise and professionalism.
“In pursuing stories we should consider the hitches, including legal barriers and how to circumvent them”, he counseled.
At the end of the three–day meeting, the editors were in a unanimous agreement to uphold professional ethics to make a difference.
The papers discussed included the promotion of cooperation among editors, editors role in strengthening professionalism and responsibility, DEFIR and the expectations to strengthen editorial independence and responsibility.
Other papers were Strategies to strengthen professionalism and ethics, and setting up ethics supervision systems within media outlets: the process of Constitutional reform; the process of friendly media legislations; MCT’s plans on press violations; Leadership and Guiding Principles for Media Owners and Managers.