President Jakaya Kikwete is scheduled to launch Leadership Guiding Principles for African Media Owners and Managers today in Dar es Salaam. The blueprint is expected to enhance professional and shape up conducts of media sector in the continent.
The guiding principles-package has been prepared by African media professionals in the auspices of the Africa Union (AU)’s resolve to improve journalism and general conducts of media in the continent.
The drafting and related processes, was spearheaded by the African Media Initiative (AMI) in collaboration with national media bodies and organs. Today’s event has been organised by AMI in partnership with the Media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT).
“These principles are being launched in Tanzania, as a symbol of what is happening across the continent. In other words, Tanzania is launching the principles on behalf of other countries in Africa,” Chairman of organising committee, Theophil Makunga, told reporters yesterday in Dar es Salaam.
He said the document would provide guidance for media operations and journalism, as a profession.
Makunga said AMI has been entrusted to oversee implementation of the guiding principles, including official launching of the document taking place today.
Tanzania, according to him, had set up the Dar es Salaam Declaration on Editorial Independence.
However, he noted that the document alone could hardly bring anticipated changes in the performance of media sector.
“If we combine the Declaration and these guiding principles for media owners and managers, we can achieve greater results. Media owners and managers have a big role to play in changing media conducts,” said Makunga.
He said that despite of having African journalists’ guidelines, they conducted a thorough research and observed that there is a need to initiate a set of guiding principles for media owners.
Makunga expressed his expectations that African media would experience the different because the owners would learn how to supervise the media, editors and journalists; as their performance will be assessed through special means.
For his part, Media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT) executive-secretary Henry Muhanika said the guidelines would create a mutual relationship between journalists and media owners.
AMI media consultant Wangethi Mwangi said the new document was different from previous sets of guidelines for journalists because it is only working with the issues of owners led by a committee of four people from Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria and neighbouring Kenya.
“Currently, this document of guiding principles has no legal power, the media owners are the ones who asked for these principles. After receiving and considering the recommendations from stakeholders, things will change,” he noted.
The launching ceremony will be held at a tourist hotel in Dar es Salaam and will be attended by media owners, managers, members of diplomatic corps, journalists and civil society representatives from across Africa.