Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.
Cheery mood as journalists mark World Press Freedom Day
Journalists in Tanzania on Wednesday joined fellow scribes from the rest of the world to commemorate the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, acknowledging improvements made in the field while outlying demands for more reforms.
Media stakeholders gathered for three days in Zanzibar to examine the state of the media in Tanzania and recommend ways through which the industry can be improved so that it can be able to serve the public better.
Members participated in debates and discussions on issues as wide-ranging as press freedom, regulatory framework, innovation, viability, inclusion, and diversity within the media. The welfare of journalists was also discussed, which included the safety and remuneration of journalists.
Presenting the resolutions media stakeholders agreed on during the two days of deliberations, the chairperson of the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), Joyce Shebe, put forwards several actionable measures stakeholders need to take to improve the state of the media in Tanzania.
These include the need for the government of Tanzania to fast-track the process of amending the much-criticised Media Services Act of 2016. She also asked the government of Zanzibar to fast-track its process to develop a new media law in the semi-autonomous archipelago.
“We have committed ourselves to promote and defend press freedom and freedom of expression as important pillars of other fundamental human rights,” Ms Shebe, who works as an editor at the Clouds Media Group, said in her presentation.
Both governments – of Tanzania and Zanzibar – used the occasion to assure media stakeholders of their commitment to upholding the principle of press freedom, promising to provide journalists with new media laws as soon as possible.
Speaking as a guest of honour during the commemoration, Zanzibar President Hussein Mwinyi appreciated journalists’ role in facilitating the development process in the country and the world, urging them to stick to their Code of Conduct.
“You are the witness of the great dangers some countries in the world have faced after journalists failed to follow the principles of their professions and entered into provocative propaganda that has become a source of chaos,” Dr Mwinyi said.
“When we celebrate World Press Freedom Day, we must realise that there is no freedom without limits, and there is no freedom without responsibility,” he added. “So when we celebrate this day, we must also realise the importance of being patriotic to our country.”
This year’s commemoration, which took place under the theme ‘Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights,’ happened as reports show that attacks on journalists are rising in East and Southern Africa.
A joint statement by Amnesty International and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) released on Wednesday shows that authorities in the regions escalated their attacks against journalists and press freedom throughout 2022.
The statement shows how authorities in Tanzania continued to use repressive media laws to restrict media freedom in the country.
It cites a decision by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to temporarily suspend DarMpya, an online media outlet now rebranded Jambo TV, following what the regulator regarded as “complaints… against DarMpya’s content.”
The content related to demonstrations by indigenous Maasai people against Kenya’s role in the government’s plans to evict them from their land.
A Kenyan journalist Julius Kuyioni was also arrested on July 7, 2022, on his way to Loliondo and charged with illegal entry into Tanzania. His arrest coincided with the authorities’ attempts to stop journalists covering the Maasai community’s protests against their eviction in Liliondo.
Dar to become a megacity. But is it prepared?
According to a report by the Institute for Economics & Peace, in less than 30 years from today, Dar es Salaam is expected to be among about six African megacities alongside Lagos, Cairo, Kinshasa, and others.
With a population of more than five million residents at the moment, the population of the Tanzanian commercial hub has grown by a staggering 23 per cent since 2012.
The United Nations defines a megacity as a very large city, typically with more than 10 million people. The World Economic Forum (WEF) lists five major challenges facing future cities: environmental threats; resources; inequality; technology; and governance.
As Dar heads into a megacity status, we must ask ourselves if proper measures are being taken to prepare for a successful transformation, especially given existing plans to make the city a 24-hour business area.
It is easy for the city to grow in population, but not so in infrastructure and services. Among the significant challenges facing the city of Dar es Salaam is congestion, which is increasing despite several infrastructural improvements in the road systems.
Full analysis here.
First round of peace talks between warring parties in Ethiopia concludes in Zanzibar
The first round of peace talks between the Ethiopian government and the Oromo Liberation Army that has been going on in Zanzibar since April 25, 2023, was concluded on Wednesday, according to a statement by Ethiopia’s Government Communication Service (GCS).
GCS stated that while the talks have been largely constructive, reaching an agreement on some issues was impossible during this round.
It added that both parties had acknowledged the need to continue these talks to resolve the conflict permanently and peacefully.
The Ethiopian government has, however, reiterated its commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict per the country’s Constitution and within the framework of fundamental principles that have guided such efforts until now.
It expressed its gratitude for those who have facilitated and hosted the talks.
The war in Ethiopia has been ongoing for almost three years since the Ethiopian government began military operations in the Tigray region against the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, in November 2020.
According to Human Rights Watch, civilian structures in towns in Tigray, including hospitals, schools, factories, and businesses, were shelled, looted and destroyed by Ethiopian federal forces and regional militias and Eritrean armed forces.
The rights group says the fighting and continued restrictions on humanitarian access forced more than two million people to flee their homes. It adds that thousands fled into Sudan, leaving at least 2.3 million needing assistance.
Barrick proud of its environmental protection initiatives
Canadian-based gold and copper mining company Barrick Gold said Wednesday that it is proud of its initiatives to conserve the environment in countries it operates, including Tanzania.
In a statement to Mining Weekly, the company claimed that its total emissions in 2022 were six per cent lower than the year before and eleven per cent lower than the 2018 baseline.
The company, which operates the North Mara and Bulyanhulu mines in Tanzania, held its annual general meeting on Wednesday against the backdrop of allegations of environmental pollution and human rights violations.
The UK-based corporate watchdog Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), which has been leading an international campaign to expose Barrick’s “human rights violations” in Tanzania, is one such organisation that has levelled the criticisms.
“We’re calling on responsible investors to press upon the gold mining company [Barrick Gold] the urgency of conducting a credible, transparent and independent investigation into human rights abuses at the mine and redressing the harm suffered,” the organisation said in a Twitter post.
Barrick denies any human rights violations at its mines in Tanzania.
In its statement to Mining Weekly on Wednesday, the company also touted its initiatives to support the education sector in Tanzania, giving an example of its pledge of US$30 million to support education infrastructure in the East African nation.
The objective is to build 1 090 classrooms, 1 640 ablution blocks and 270 dormitories across 161 schools nationwide, helping to accommodate approximately 49 000 of the estimated 190 000 students expected to start their A-levels in July this year.
“We believe that education is key to the country’s development,” the company’s CEO, Mark Bristow, stated in a media release.
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