By The Citizen Reporters
Dar es Salaam. Mwananchi Communications Ltd (MCL) dominated the 2012 Excellence in Journalism Awards Tanzania (EJAT), scooping 12 of the available 19 Friday night.
The haul of awards in the national competition reinforces the company’s strong position in print media leadership and best practices for MCL which publishes The Citizen, Mwananchi and Mwanaspoti newspapers.
It was a night to remember as MCL journalists time and again made their way to the podium to receive their accolades during the colourful event.
The chief guest at the dinner gala was of the Zanzibar First Vice President, Mr Seif Sharif Hamad, who represented the Zanzibar President, Dr Ali Mohammed Shein.
The Citizen’s Chief Reporter, Mr Lucas Liganga, scooped the overall Journalist of the Year award, ensuring that the apex trophy remained in the stable.
Mwananchi’s Neville Meena was the overall winner in 2011.
“I feel honoured and this is a challenge for me to work harder and compete in regional and international awards such as the prestigious CNN African Journalist of the Year Award,” said Liganga.
Organised by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), the 2012 EJAT was its fourth. It had 66 finalists drawn from the print and electronic media.
According to MCT executive secretary, Mr Kajubi Mkajanga, it attracted 946 entries.
Winners took home iPads, Television sets and certificates. Mr Liganga additionally won a $4,000 (Sh6.6 million) scholarship for his feat in Environment and Malaria reporting.
Other MCL winners were Edward Qorro (Business), Fred Azzah (HIV/Aids and Education), Florence Majani (Reproductive Health and Technology) and Anthony Mayunga (Good Governance).
Yet others were Zephania Ubwani (Agri-Business) and Polycarp Machira (Disaster). Further, Shija Felician won in the Open category while Samwel Mwamkinga won in the Cartoon category.
The Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation who beamed the event live took home eight trophies, Afya radio scooped six while Kilimanjaro Film Institute won five.
The rest of the English print media got only one award won by The African in the Sports category while four awards were shared among rival Kiswahili titles.
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to veteran broadcaster Hamza Kassongo who took home a cheque for Sh10 million.
Mr Hamad said journalists have a big responsibility of building a Tanzanian community that is tolerant of diverse views.
He assured journalists that the two Governments of Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar were speedily working on ensuring that there would be satisfactory press freedom.
“You (the media) have the responsibility of building good governance and democracy. As such you have to educate yourself so as to do your job keenly…the government is ready to work with you,” the First Vice President said.
He said the media had a noble duty of protecting the country’s virtues so as to ensure that Tanzania continues to be an Island of peace.
Reporting by Bernard Lugongo and Sylivester Ernest