Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has ordered a review of the media law to boost press freedom in the country, amid a strong warning against irresponsible journalism.
According to Samia, her administration is currently in dialogue with media stakeholders following complaints that the laws were draconian and that they hamper media development in Tanzania.
She thus ordered the Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology to join hands with media stakeholders to review the Media Services Act of 2016 to enable journalists and media houses to execute their duties freely.
Samia called on them to “come up with better and friendly laws and regulations that would protect journalists and open more space for the freedom of expression and the media.”
The president said this on Tuesday while addressing editors, journalists, government officials, diplomats, donor agencies and media partners who had gathered in Arusha, northern Tanzania, to mark World Press Freedom Day.
Globally, the day is marked every May 3.
The head of state told the participants from Tanzania and other African states that African media should focus more on the development agenda rather than copying foreign news for circulation through local media platforms.
“We should make our African media platforms cherish our development goals and promote Africa’s rich resources rather than stereotype reporting under the influence of foreign media outside Africa,” she said.
Under the theme “Journalism Under Digital Siege”, the World Press Freedom Day event in Tanzania had attracted various media organisations, including the Eastern Africa Editors Society (EAES), an umbrella body bringing together editor organizations in Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.
EAES Chairman Churchill Otieno, who is also the president of the Kenya Editors Guild, said the Society looks forward to enhancing freedom of expression, freedom of the media and access to information in the eastern Africa region.