What you need to know:
- Right now, Tanzania is on the brink of redefining its history in as far as port operations are concerned
There comes a time when every institution is put in the spotlight. It is at such times that integrity and endurance are put to the test. For the media, this level of scrutiny comes more often than your average fraternity.
Right now, Tanzania is on the brink of redefining its history in as far as port operations are concerned. The government has been handed what some refer to as a death sentence. But, amidst all these varied views, there needs to be an institution that puts matters in perspective. An institution that is not compromised, one that is impartial, and above all, one with the highest level of integrity.
Admittedly, this is a matter that has attracted people with different interests. So, whether the media is doing its job the right way or not depends on who you ask.
However, the media, as the Fourth Estate, needs to step up and assume its role. So far, we have seen media that seems heavily compromised. Whether this is a fact or just a matter of perception is left to the juries to decide. But what we know is that the media needs to serve the interests of Tanzanians. Our major interest right now is to see a transparent process in the port handling agreement between the Tanzanian government and any interested investors.
The current Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that has the country in a chokehold is also exposing the media’s lack of a critical eye to look into matters beyond what could be termed “white lies” spewed by the government.
We need a media that digs deep into matters in order to get to the bottom of issues of national interest and come out with a narrative that makes logical sense. Such a medium can be trusted and respected. Do we have such a media platform in Tanzania?
When the head of the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) goes in front of the camera and addresses the nation, who double-clicks to verify the veracity of what he is feeding the audience? Then the next day, without so much as basic research, his words became headlines on the front pages of some of this country’s leading dailies. This is unacceptable! The media needs to do better.
What about when the Speaker of the National Assembly overtly warns the media against a certain narrative she deems unfit for public consumption? Who puts her in her place and educates her on the role of the media? I have not seen one media house openly rebuke the Speaker for her reckless and damaging remarks. What media are we upholding if none is willing to stand up for what is right? Are we going back to the days of a toothless media? The days when the executive arm of the government dictated everything, including what the media should report on, how they should report, and when they should report?
The questions are plenty. But before I digress any further, I want to circle back to the matter at hand; the ports saga. Ask any economist, and they will quickly point out that the port is the soul of a country’s economy. This is a bare and common fact that requires no further justification. So, TPA should tread carefully before they decide to sell the soul of our economy. Whether the agreement with United Arabs Emirate’s DP World is to the benefit or detriment of Tanzanians, still hangs in the balance. What is known so far is that this matter cannot and should not be silenced by any state organ.
I expect to see a more inquisitive media, one that is ready to go the extra mile and do a proper service to the people who rely upon it for information. Tanzania will remain in the dark if the media decides to dance to the tune of the government.
Media, as the Fourth Estate, needs to step up and assume its role. So far, we have seen media that seems heavily compromised. Whether this is a fact or just a matter of perception is left to the juries to decide. But what we know is that the media needs to serve the interests of Tanzanians; this mandate cannot be compromised or diluted. Our major interest right now is to see a transparent process in the port handling agreement between the Tanzanian government and any interested investors.