As Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan gears up to give an address on World Press Freedom Day on Tuesday, media practitioners are eagerly waiting for the government to fulfil its commitment to change hostile laws hampering media freedom. This will enable journalists to execute their duties freely.
Gathering in Arusha for the last three days, media practitioners and donor organisations are still asking the Tanzanian government to review its media laws which limit journalists in executing their duties freely.
They said they are looking forward to the president spelling out a new path for the Tanzanian media industry.
The Eastern Africa Editors Society (EAES), an umbrella body bringing together editor organisations in Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, are in Arusha to mark the World Freedom Day, a day marked by media practitioners worldwide every May 3.
Mr Nape Nnauye, Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, said on Monday that Samia’s administration was willing to review the Media Services Act of 2016 enable journalists and media houses carry out their duties freely.
He said Parliament is ready to work closely with media practitioners to review the laws impeding media freedom in Tanzania.
There have been complaints over harsh laws and legislations hindering freedom of the press and expression, including restrictions to social media platforms through licensing processes and the control of freelance contributors and correspondents through accreditation.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Director for Eastern Africa Prof Hubert Gijzen said that Tanzania had made significant development in advancing press freedom after lifting the ban imposed on four local newspapers and the transformation of the state broadcasting into a public service entity.
UNESCO is among leading agencies and donors supporting Tanzanian media through advocacy and other key areas.
The UN agency has just announced the launch funding for 17 countries in the world as part of its commitment to advance the media sectors in those countries.