Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Tuesday ordered a media law review to boost press freedom in the country, despite issuing strong warnings against irresponsible journalism.
Samia said her government is now on the Dialogue with media representatives following complaints that the laws are draconian and hampering media development in Tanzania.
She directed the Ministry of Information, Communications and Information Technology to work with media representatives to review the Media Services Act of 2016 to enable journalists and media houses to freely carry out their duties.
Samia called on them to “develop better and friendlier laws and regulations that would protect journalists and create more space for freedom of expression and the media.”
The President addressed editors, journalists, government officials, diplomats, donor agencies and media partners, who had gathered in Arusha in northern Tanzania to mark World Press Freedom Day.
The day has arrived every May 3 worldwide.
Samia told the participants from Tanzania and other African states that African media should focus more on the development agenda, rather than copying foreign news to circulate through local media platforms.
“We should get our African media platforms to value our development goals and promoting the rich resources of Africa, rather than reporting stereotypically outside of Africa under the influence of foreign media,” she said.
Under the theme of “Journalism in the Digital Age Victories,” the World Press Freedom Day event in Tanzania had various Media organizations attracted, including the Eastern Africa Editors Society (EAES), an umbrella organization representing editor organizations in Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.
EAES Chairman Churchill Otieno, who is also President of the Kenya Editors Guild, said the Society looks forward to improving freedom of expression, freedom of the media and access to information in the East African region .