MISA Tanzania, with support from the Open Society Initiatives of Eastern Africa and in collaboration with the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth Artists and Sports, organised a one-day consultative meeting in Dodoma to discuss the working relationship between media stakeholders and government under the theme ‘Building Sustainable Communication Platform between Media & Government’ came out with the following resolutions.
The meeting, which was held on 29th June, 2017, was between the Minister for Information, ministry officers and media stakeholders. These included editors/bureau chiefs, media organizations (such as the Tanzania Editors Forum, Media Council of Tanzania, Tanzania Media Foundation), representatives from media training institutes, bureau chiefs of the mainstream media based in Dodoma, and journalists.
It attracted 70 participants and was structured in a dialogue format, which involved short presentations and discussions. Three presentations were on the Media Services Bill (MSB) and its regulations plus one major presentation under the theme, ‘Building a Working Relationship between the Government and Media Based on Mutual Trust and Zeal to Serve the Nation.’
The first two presentations on the MSB and its regulations were divided into two parts. One part was the general overview of MSB and its regulation and was presented by Assistant Registrar of newspaper from the Department of Information Services (Maelezo) Adv. Patrick Kipangula and second part on the Sections considered thorny within Media Services Act of 2016 was presented by Jesse Kwayu, an experienced editor, access to information and media freedom advocate who is the Executive Editor for The Guardian.
Most of the issues raised during the consultative meetings pointed out the challenges faced, especially on the areas of implementation of the law, and above all the relationship and responsibilities of both parties, i.e. government and media stakeholders to improve communication and build mutual trust and zeal on serving the nation.
At the end, both parties come came out with seven resolutions as part of way forward. More significant outcome of the meeting was the formation of a consultative group of six members comprising of representatives from both government and media stakeholders. The consultative group was tasked to spearhead the implementation of the agreed resolutions.
The follow-up meetings scheduled quarterly with next meeting earmarked at the end deliberate on the concrete actions for the next meeting planned for the end of November or beginning of December this year 2017.
The following was agreed as resolutions and way forward:
- Recognise the need for continued collaboration between the government and media stakeholders to build better media playing field for sustainable development, patriotism and strengthening democracy in the United Republic of Tanzania
- Unanimously agreed that self-regulation of the media is the key component of strengthening media ethics and accountability and there should be continued dialogue between media stakeholders and government on building sustainable framework for self regulation
- Emphasised the need of continued awareness and enforcement of media laws among media stakeholders and the public
- Noting with concern the deplorable working conditions and safety of journalists which calls for further dialogue and collaboration among the government and media stakeholders in seeking durable solutions
- Expressing the need for continued dialogue on contentious provisions under the legal and legislative framework related to the media in the United Republic of Tanzania
- Resolved the formation of a working committee of six members hosted by the government and involving the media stakeholders to coordinate, monitor and report cooperation between the government and media stakeholders
- Agreed to conduct a joint follow up dialogue meeting in by November or December 2017 to monitor progress and discuss further collaboration between among the government and media stakeholders in pursuit of the above-mentioned resolutions.
The meeting was a follow up to the World Press Freedom Day 2017 resolutions whereby the minister responsible for information, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, committed himself to continue dialogues between the government and media stakeholders.