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Media workers call for repeal of anti-press laws

(MISA/IFEX) - According to MISA, journalists and media workers in Tanzania
have asked the government to reform some of the laws which restrict the
right to information and freedom of expression. The media workers made the
call during the celebrations of this year's World Press Freedom Day at the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Dar es Salaam on 27 April
1998. MISA-Tanzania Chapter National Director Fred Ntobi, raised the
concerns on behalf of the media.

During his address Ntobi named the Newspaper Act of 1976, Broadcasting Act
of 1993, Films and State Plays Act of 1976, the Tanzania News Agency Act of
1976, Prevention Detention Act of 1962 Cap 490, the Zanzibar Newspaper Act
of 1988 and the Official Secret Act as some of the laws which have
anti-media freedom clauses which should be repealed.

Ntobi also urged the government to do away with registration and licensing
of journalists and leave this in the hands of professional associations. His
views were echoed among others by freelance journalist Ernest Ambali, who
urged the government to dedicate its effort to the creation of a conducive
media environment.

Production editor of "The African", "Mtanzania", "Rai", and "Dimba"
newspapers, Dr.
Gideon Shoo urged journalists to engage in lobbying of policy makers and
legislators in the campaign for the reform of anti-media laws.

Shoo also called for training among journalists to enhance professional
reporting. He said untrained journalists were eroding the integrity of the
profession. His view was shared by publisher and veteran journalist Jimmy
Mdoe who expressed his concern about the diminishing public confidence in
reports published in most newspapers in Tanzania .

Tanzania's theme for this year's World Press Freedom Day is "The Need for a
Free and Pluralistic Media in Tanzania".

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