Dar es Salaam. Retired Prime Minister Joseph Warioba has called on the Media Council of Tanzania to supervise the media and direct it towards people-centred news instead of the current news that only focuses on leaders.
He said the people want news that is relevant to them, and which directly touch their lives.
Following dissemination of such news, he said, the public has been shying away and relying on foreign news to satisfy their curiosity.
He also challenged the media to invest in investigative journalism that is well informed and brings change to society. He said this when launching the new board of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) for the period 2020 to 2023.
The new board consists of chairman Jackson Mlay, deputy chairman Yusuf Hamis Yusuf, and members: Tirdo Mhando, Eda Sanga, Happiness Nkya, Anna Henga, Joyce Bazira, Teddy Mapunda and Bakari Machumu.
Mr Machumu - the current acting Managing Director at Mwanachi Communications Ltd - as well as Sanga, Henga and Juckson, were in the previous board, and were selected to be in the new board to maintain continuity.
“In the past, we were told that if ‘a man bites a dog,’ it is news but with the current news that trends in the local media, it looks like ‘a man biting a dog’ is a normal thing and it’s no longer news,” said the retired judge.
Speaking about the new board, Mr Warioba said the names are of media heavyweights who are in a good position to ensure the industry is realigned. “I was among the first people to join the council back then in 1997 and looking now I see it has made huge strides compared to when there were just few media outlets,” he said.
The new board chairman was the deputy president in the former board. He said they are challenged to ensure they continue the good work done by previous boards. “The environment has changed and is difficult; but, still, it is our responsibility to ensure the media thrives,” he said.
Before handing over to the new board on behalf of the president, Thomas Mihayo, who was not present, deputy chairman Hassan Mitawi said making the council sustainable has been a challenge due to lack of enough funding.
“The media people do not contribute a lot and, therefore, we depend on support to keep the ball rolling. The just-ended board started work in 2017 and ended yesterday, Friday 20, 2020.