Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan Monday said her administration is committed to strengthening freedom of speech and supporting media development in the country.
Speaking during a joint meeting with editors and senior journalists in Dar es Salaam, she said her administration is ready to listen to and have hold dialogue with the media to create a conducive working environment for journalists, support the survival of media houses in Tanzania and enhance press freedom.
President Samia was responding to a request from Deodatus Balile, the Chairman of Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), who sought presidential intervention over laws and regulations hostile to the media.
Mr Balile said some media houses are facing closure due to financial constraints partly caused by the government actions such as advertising restrictions.
He asked the President to waive advertising restrictions that were once imposed to restrict and limit government business through private media outlets.
Balile also urged President Samia to consider having a budget allocation for the media as it is an important entity in communicating and supporting the country's development agenda.
President Samia, however, said that the media cannot get a government budget allocation because it is not provided for in the constitution.
She instead urged the media to source for advertisements from private entities to beef up their income.
The journalists also informed the president that despite her directive to look into the ban on media houses, the bans have not been lifted.
Meanwhile, President Samia said the government will work to attract more investors to boost Tanzania’s economy.
She told the editors that Covid-19 has hurt Tanzania, but assured them that the economy remained stable.