Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) – Underlining his government’s commitment to press freedom, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete has called on the rapidly expanding local media to observe professional ethics and their moral duty to encourage national cohesion.
“Journalism is a dignified profession. It is a profession that is trusted by the people. Don’t let the media be misused either for distortion of truth or creation of divisions within our population,” Kikwete said late Friday at a gala organized by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) for presentation of the 2011 Excellence in Journalism Awards Tanzania (EJAT).
The awards, which started in 2009, have become the most prestigious annual event for celebrating the work of journalists in Tanzania and this time included introduction of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism.
Kikwete urged media owners in the country to employ qualified and competent journalists saying the government would make sure that journalism schools in the country turn out well groomed men and women to work for the media.
“Though we still have a long way to go, one thing is certain. We need media workers who understand their obligation to the nation and observe social ethics to publish well-researched and verified information,” he said.
The president also told Tanzanian media owners to ensure job security for journalists and pay them good wages. “If you don’t pay them well and timely, there is danger that they can easily turn into mercenaries.”
Kikwete advised Tanzanian journalists to form trade unions that can represent their interests and help them improve their working conditions.
“There is an obvious need of a better employment system for journalists,” he added, cautioning that the Tanzanian media would not flourish if journalists were offered unattractive packages or did work they were not paid for.
-0- PANA AR/MA 31March2012