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MEDIA COUNCIL OF TANZANIA WEBSITE

MCT expresses concern on increasing impunity for crimes against scribes

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The Media Council of Tanzania has expressed concern over the increasing incidents of impunity for crimes against journalists in the country.

The Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), Kajubi Mukajanga, said the Council is not satisfied with the state of press freedom in the country.

He was speaking to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists November 2, as adopted by the United Nations.

He said” the day was important to media practitioners in the country as it reminds us that there are areas where our job is not liked...meaning that it is dangerous”.

“It also reminds us of our commitment to doing our job. We pledge and affirm our commitment... it is our job and we shall do it and cannot be swayed as we total oppose impunity for crimes against journalists”, Mukajanga asserted.

He listed a number of incidents where journalists have been subjected to actions amounting to impunity to crimes against journalists.

He said the main perpetrator of impunity to crimes against journalists is the government through the police, district and regional commissioners, apart from the Ministry of information which some of the banned and suspended newspapers have filed cases against.

Due to indifference and intolerance to the media, the present regime has within a short period banned five newspapers - Mseto, Mwanahalisi, Mawio, Tanzania Daima and Raia Mwema.

Mukajanga in his statement also highly praised the chairperson n of Parliamentary   Public Accounts Committee, Naghenjwa Kaboyoka, for censuring the police in Dodoma for briefly detaining a reporter Augusta Njonji of Nipashe newspaper after she had reported on the proceedings of the committee’s session.

She was doing her job, Mukajanga said pointing that the action by PAC chairman was a major step which is highly appreciated, as it reflects that one of branches of state power recognises and appreciates the importance of journalists in the society.

In the past two years, he said fear has increased by the day for journalists and the media industry causing media practitioners to fail to freely and professionally discharge their duties.

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Abuse of power, misuse of the law, harassment and even threatening statements by leaders against media practitioners and their outlets and overzealous trend in suspending and banning newspapers has assumed a precedence never seen in the history of Tanzania eroding our national integrity and pride before the International community.

He appealed to journalists and all media practitioners to fully utilise and report in the Press Freedom Violation Register maintained by MCT since 2012 to report all negative incidents they experience in discharging their duties.

He also said that the Council will from now take all incidents of press freedom violation to courts and urged journalists to properly record such incidents whenever they occur and report them.

He also passionately appealed to journalists and editors to highly adhere to present media laws and the professional code of ethics in processing and publishing the various news items.

As for the laws, he cautioned that though they may be seen as bad, but they are there and the government can apply them anytime.

He said that the Council is calling for concerted efforts to have the obnoxious laws repealed or amended.

Mukajanga also underscored that adherence to professionalism and media ethics, is a first line of defence against those who would want to snatch away the rights and freedom of the media.

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