BLOGGERS, EDITORS URGED TO ENSURE PUBLIC MAKES INFORMED CHOICE
Gasirigwa Sengiyumva from MISA Tanzania, giving briefly introduction about the training, asking editors and bloggers there expectation after training and the aim of the Training today.
Mr. James Malenga from National Organization of Legal Assistance(NORA), explaining about analysis of the ATI,RTI Law and importance on Election Reporting , Also a Glimpse at the guidelines on Media coverage of Elections in SADC Region(Role of Media in Elections)
Maxence Melo Managing Director – Jamii Media who talk about Brief analysis of the Cybercrime and Statistic laws and its effect on reporting Elections also the opportunity of Using ICT for access of information and reporting on Election plus risk involved.
Bloggers and Editors during the training.
By Gasirigwa G.S.
Giving stories fair and balanced treatment, working within the specified limits of laws and regulations, maintaining core values of the profession and ensuring the public makes informed choices were among the messages that emerged during the one day workshop for editors and bloggers in Dar es Salaam today.
A group of selected Dar es Salaam based editors and bloggers were earlier trained on how to safely access and share information during the October general election.
The aim of the workshop was to improve/enhance knowledge and skills of selected media personnel in various outlets in order to enable them to access relevant information, cover and report qualitatively as well as responsibly the 2015 general election.
Key presentations focused on the contents of the Media Services Bill, Access to Information Law, Cybercrime and Statistics Acts as well as the 2015 election broadcasting Code.
One of the facilitator James Marenga (Advocate) highlighted the contents of the already tabled Media Services Bill and the Access to Information Law and cautioned participants that although these are not yet signed as Laws, the existing Newspaper Act of 1976 will punish them if they are not careful. “Our purpose is to lead people to make informed choices by giving them relevant reportage of the campaigns and the election but at the same time making sure that we are not contravening the existing laws”, he said.
The media are required to provide relevant information, analyse it and additionally offer substantive opinions to the public, while also serving as a platform for debate and discussion.
Furthermore, the media shall fulfill their watchdog role by promoting transparency and thus preventing electoral fraud. Make reference to the TBC- “Uchaguzimajimboni” program in 2010 General Election.
Marenga highlighted that media have a duty to provide election coverage that gives the voter comprehensive, accurate and reliable information on all aspects of the electoral process.
This information will also help to ensure that the voters know and understand their democratic rights and exercise them free from fear, intimidation or coercion.
“Many of you are not aware of the existing content of the Cybercrime Act and the subsidiary legislation on broadcasting that was gazzeted in June this year.
This will surely affect you and you shall go to jail if you are not careful. My appeal to you is to work safely within the existing law”, added MaxenceMelo from Jamii Media.
Blogger and Investigative Journalist Danny Mbega openly said that, despite working in the industry for decades, he wasn’t aware of so many things until today. His comments are echoed by blogger Geofrey Ernest of Habari.Com who says among other things that if most of these laws are in place, the future of Journalism is in jeopardy.
The training that took part in Dar Es Salaam brought together 18 mainstream media editors and bloggers and was supported by CIPESA, a Ugandan based organization that works to promote ICT policies and access to information in Africa.