REGULATIONS of the Media Services Act 2016 are now ready for application, putting diploma as minimum education qualification for journalists, the government announced here yesterday.
The regulations came out after the law came into effect in December, last year, with stakeholders engaged in the debate on the level of education to be applied as qualification for the newscasters. The debate was on whether the law restricts bachelor degree as low level for those who want to work as journalists.
Yesterday, the Minister for Information, Culture, Art and Sports, Mr Nape Nnauye, said: “I am happy that we have benefited a lot with the views from the stakeholders and the regulations have been published in the Government Gazette.”
Mr Nnauye acknowledged that the issue of level of education to be allowed for the journalists attracted many views from the media practitioners.The regulations require that for a journalist to work in the media, they should have a minimum of diploma in mass communications, journalism or other related courses.
So it provides a room for others who have studied other courses relating to the media, he said at a press conference held in Dodoma. He further explained that for those who now work in the media but do not have that minimum qualification, they have been given five years as grace period for them to pursue diploma courses.
The minister said the law was pivotal for the media industry after many years of discussion, arguing that it will transform the profession from what it appeared as ‘anyone can practise’ to a career which requires specific prerequisites.
The law also puts in place a special system to protect rights of the scribers when collecting, editing and disseminating information freely. “The media will now perform this constitutional right without any unreasonable restrictions,” he said. In line with this, some organs and new procedures will be introduced to implement the law.
Mr Nnauye added that in order to help the journalists who currently work in the media, the government through its Tanzania Information Services Department, Maelezo, will continue issuing press cards without considering new academic qualifications, but their employers will be guarantors.