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Journalism is more than a profession…it is missionary …you need to have passion, dexterity and

commitment for telling the truth , the Managing Editor of the English to Africa Division of the Voice of America (VOA), Dr. Shaka Ssali, has said.

Exchanging views with officials of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) led by the Acting Executive Secretary of the Council, Pili Mtambalike on April 24, 2014, Shaka who hosts the Straight Talk Africa programme aired by VOA said, if journalist lack these noble professional values, they may degenerate into mercenaries.

He cautioned that journalists should not compromise their profession by seeking and receiving “brown envelopes” – a euphemism for receiving bribes. “Once people pay you, they would despise you” he said.

During the meeting held at the offices of the Council, the Acting Executive Secretary, Mtambalike briefed Shaka on the activities of the Council which include organizing training for journalists with the aim of honing their skills, maintaining the professional code of ethics, carrying out advocacy and lobbying and mediation of complaints raised against media outlets.

Earlier, Shaka met with editors from various media outlets led by the chairperson of the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), Absalom Kibanda.

He shared with them his experiences in covering Africa and they told him of the numerous challenges they face in performing their duties.

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He advised them it was very important for the media in Africa to promote civic education and raise the level of awareness of the general public on their rights as citizens and not as subjects of the rulers in their countries.

He emphasised that what Africa requires is to have leaders who would push for more development than rulers who simply maintain the status quo.

He was of the opinion that elections in the continent should really be elections and not selections as the case is in many countries on the continent.

Shaka is in the country to cover the 50th anniversary of the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar and is expected to have an interview with the Union Government President Jakaya Kikwete and the Zanzibar President Dr. Ali Mohammed Shein.

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