State okays media constructive criticism

Director of Tanzania Information Services, MAELEZO, and Chief Government Spokesperson,Mr Hassan Abbas

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THE government has given media houses green light to challenge it so long as they are for constructive development on problems bedeviling the country, or seeking solutions for them.

The revelation was made by Director of Information Services (MAELEZO), Dr Hassan Abbasi, while in an interview with a local television station, Star Television.

He said the government has no any intention whatsoever to gag, or institute any legal actions against any media outlet for publishing or broadcasting information that challenges it on State matters.

Dr Abbasi who is also the government spokesperson, said Media Services Act of 2016, is allowing the media to challenge it by offering alternatives solutions on how best it can address problems facing its citizens.

“There is no any media house that will be punished for disseminating information that aims at correcting or challenging the government, because the duty of the media is to inform the public,’’ he further said.

However, he was firm that the government would not hesitate to take appropriate actions against a media house that will act unprofessionally by blatantly disregarding the legislation in the best interest of the public.

Dr Abbasi added that it was equally important for media proprietors to exercise their freedom by publishing information that does not contravene the law, and avoid disseminating seditious materials that are likely to instigate the public.

Responding to a question as to why the government slapped a ban on Mawio newspaper to stay out of circulation for 24 months, the government spokesperson said the newspaper was banned not because it wrote negative stories against the State, but simply because it defied an order from the government and published mudslinging information aimed at slurring former Heads of State

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