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MEDIA COUNCIL OF TANZANIA WEBSITE

MCT to launch State of Media Report 2016 and Probe Report on invasion of Clouds TV

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The Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) will on Monday August 14, 2017 launch its flagship publication – the State of Media Report for 2016 and Probe Report on the invasion of Clouds TV Studios.

The State of media report published annually since 2001, documents trends, developments and challenges in the media   that prevailed during the year.

Since the opening of media space in the mid 1990s, the Tanzania media has distinguished itself as vigorous and courageous, pushing frontiers of press freedom and freedom of expression.

The media has tremendously contributed towards the widening of democratic space, accountability and development of the culture of transparency in governance, despite the existing draconian laws.

However all these gains have been lost with the stroke of the presidential pen assenting to the Media Services Act 2016 negating over 20 years of the hard work gains in development of a strong, free and independent media in the country.

The media stakeholder’s vision of having in place laws that would support the growth of a free, vibrant and responsible media have been dashed and the 2016 State of Media Report chronicles this major historical landmark which rings the death knell for press freedom and freedom of expression. The new law seeks to criminalize professional mistakes, license journalists and introduces statutory body to control the media.

The 2016 State of the Media report also notes a positive trend for the year that is the increase in use of online platforms such as Face book, twitter, whtaspp and blogs for getting news, exchange of information and communication among the people and to express themselves.

The year was also marked with a clampdown of social media, a consequence of the Cybercrimes Act, 2015. A number of people were arrested for opinions expressed in social media platforms.

As for the Probe Report on the Invasion of Clouds Studio   TV Studios by the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Paul Makonda, the Council had assigned four experts to carry out the investigation.

The members of the team were Hawra Shamte (editor), Juma Thomas (lawyer), Maximinus Michael Ubisimbali, (Retired Police Officer ) and Yustus Adam Mkinga (MCT Programme Officer and Team Leader).

The aim of the investigation was to document facts and determine to what extent the invasion n of the Clouds Studios interfered with the cardinal principles of editorial independence in particular and press freedom in General.

During the launch  which will be held at the  Jossam House Gardens, MCT will also distribute reprinted copies of the  Dar es Salaam Declaration on Editorial Independence and Responsibility (DEFIR).

 DEFIR sets the tone and standards for media operations. It stipulates the roles for owners, advertisers, journalists and even politicians to ensure free expression prevails.

It emphasises freedom of operations in the media from big business, media owners and politicians.

It also emphasises the importance of security of employment to both journalists and editors.

According to the Executive Secretary of MCT, Kajubi Mukajanga, a DEFIR register will be available for people to sign on their behalf or their institutions.

The launch ceremony will be presided by the chairperson of the Ethics Committee of MCT, retired Judge Juxon Mlay.

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