KUNA wakati unatakiwa kuangalia taaluma kama taaluma na si vinginevyo. Na mie leo nataka kuitazama hivyo, kama mwanataaluma. Muswada wa habari pamoja na mazuri yake, una shida ndogo na shida hii ukiiangalia unaiona kama si mbaya kihivyo lakini ukisoma vifungu husika kwa pamoja unagundua tatizo lake.
Inafaa wadau, waandishi wenyewe, kusikilizwa kwani katika hili wanalo lao jambo na wanataka kuweka sawa ukweli kuhusiana na muswada wa habari.
Ukipitia utakutana na mambo mauzir lakini pia utakuna amambo yanayotisha ambayo tafsiri yake huenda ikawa sawia na nguvu zaidi kuliko sheria zilizokuwa zinawaongoza waandishi wa habari ambazo pia zilikuwa sheria mbaya.
Nia ya kuwa na sheria hii ni nzuri katika kuweka taaluma sawa, lakini baadhi ya vifungu vikisomwa kwa pamoja vinatoa nguvu kubwa kwa serikali na kunyima uhuru wa kweli wa vyombo vya habari na wanahabari wenyewe.
Aidha yapo mambo ambayo ukiyatazama kiundani zaidi unagundua kurejeshwa kwa namna sheria ya magazeti ya mwaka 1976 na pia kubanwa bila sababu na sheria ya usalama wa taifa hata katika mambo ambayo kimsingi si ya usalama wa taifa. Bisha! Wakati tulipokuwa frontline sheria zote mbili zilikuwa lazima na maana kubwa kwa taifa hili, lakini je kwa sasa lazima ziwe kavu na utaratibu mkavu kuliko utaratibu wa simu na makampuni ya simu?
Ndio kusema inakuaje kama nguvu tunazotaka zipunguzwe kutoka kwa waziri na watu wanapokea maagizo na kuzipeleka katika bodi zimebaki kwa waziri hata kama kupitia kwa mkurugenzi wa maelezo?
Je si kweli kuwa utaratibu wa kusajili ni tofauti na utoaji leseni? Hatuoni kwamba serikali ikiwa na mamlaka kupitia mkurugenzi wa maelezo wa kutoa leseni kutachochea uchukuaji wa leseni inavyotaka? Kwa maana anaposajili zipo hatua za kuchukua kufuta usajili, leseni ni ahh ushaniuzi nipe leseni yangu.
Haya inakuaje kosa la kiufundi liangamize taasisi kukamwatwa kw amictambo ya kuchapia na kupiga mnada? Basi na madaktari wanaokosea operesheni wangelifutiwa leseni jumla na hospitali zao vifaa kupigwa mnada. Tunachotaa kusema masuala haya yabaki Bodi kama zilivyobodi nyingine na hatua zichukuliwe kama bodi nyingine zinavyochukua hatua na si kupoka vitendeakazi.
Lakini nataka kusema hivi haya yaliyoainishwa na wadau wa habari kuhusu muswada huo ili kuwa na makini basi tuyafuate… niendelee kuzungumza, siku nyingine lakini wabunge hebu someni bill na kisha someni haya ambayo wadau wanashauri yarekebishwe ili twende sambamba
Hebu yasomeni yana ubaya gani katika kuifanya sheria kuwa na maana kubwa katika kuipeleka mbele taaluma hii? Ukiangalia vifungu vinavyobishaniwa utajua tu kwamba muda ulioombwa unakidhi kabisa vigezo kwani kwa mara ya kwanza wadau wameweka na time frame. kwani muswada huu baada ya kuwasiliana na wadau kuwekana sawa hauwezi kweli kuwasilishwa Februari ili kuondoa kiwingu?NAWASILISHA
Proposals on the Media Services Bill (MSB)
· The name of the Bill in English does not reflect the intended meaning in the Kiswahili version the way it is translated; hence this fact needs to be corrected to read “Muswada wa Sheria ya Huduma za Vyombo vya Habari”.
· Delete the words “on such date the Minister may, by Notice Published in the Gazette, appoint” and insert “Ninety days after the Bill is passed by the parliament.”
We think this gives assurance that the law will become operational timely to meet the requirements of professionalizing Journalism in the country.
The Parliament applied this spirit at the time of passing the Constitutional Amendment Act of 2014 whereby we borrow similar wisdom.
· The interpretation given on Public Media is not correct:
Public media is not media owned by the government rather, media owned by public and answerable to the Parliament hence the words “Public Media” should be deleted and substituted with “Government Media.”
· Under 5(e) delete “licensing” and insert “registering”
· The role of the Director of Information Services should remain to be registration of newspapers as it currently stands and the licensing process should remain to be a role of town councils in the country responsible for issuing business licenses. The law by introducing this role to the DIS it opens the room for double licensing which is cumbersome.
6 (1) – should recognize three types of media ownership as it is recognized under TCRA Act:-
Also, all words reading “licensing” under Section 6 (1) be deleted, and replaced with the word “registering”.
· 6 (2)
Delete the whole subsection 6 (2) which sets condition of the ownership to be prescribe in the regulation. This concept is taken care of under Section 60 (1) and (2) of this Bill.
· 7(1)(b) (iv) delete this section which ends with the words “…as the government may direct” in totality.
This subsection interferes with editorial independence; it is against media ethics and leads to censorship which is the worst scenario of the freedom of speech. This style used to be used by government in the 1600s and it is an outdated mode of controlling the media and the public by directing what should be broadcast and what not.
· (2) (a)
“Before the word “undermine” insert the word “deliberately”
Before the words “impede due process…” insert the word “intentionally”
Before the worlds “disclose the proceeding…” insert the word “knowingly”.
Before the words “hinder or cause substantial harm…” insert the word “intentionally”
After the word “significantly” insert “and intentionally”
Before the words “damage the information holder’s…” insert the word “deliberately”
The above proposed additional words are crafted specifically to hold accountable intentional wrong doers and exonerate accidental wrong doers.
On sub section (c) delete the world “licensing” replace with “registering”
8 (1) & 2(a)
Delete all words reading “licensing” and insert the word “registering” in their place for the reasons mentioned under section 5 of this Bill in this addendum.
Delete it as it is taken care of by section 60
After the words “requirements for…” delete the word “licensing” and replace it with “registering” for the reasons mentioned above. The world “licensing” should also be replaced with “registering” in the marginal notes.
· Before the word “suspend” insert the words “in consultation with the Independent Media Council”
· After the words “or cancel the…” delete the world “license” and replace with “register”.
· After the words “in the event of …” delete the worlds “failure of a licensee to comply” and insert the words “non compliance”.
· After the words “prescribed conditions of…” delete the words “a license” and insert the word “registration.”
The new sub section 9(b) will read: “In consultation with the Independent Media Council suspend or cancel the registration in the event of non compliance with prescribed conditions of registration.”
· The establishment of the Board under Section 10 through Section 20 contradicts the Information and Broadcasting Policy of 2003 as at no point it mentions Board establishment. Therefore, the roles under the Board we hereby advise that some of the roles should be placed under the Director of Information Services (sections 4-9) and the remaining be placed under the Independent Media Council (sections 23 -31). The policy recognizes the two organs under Chapter 3.1 and 3.2, respectively.
· We advise the government to uphold the sanctity process of law making where wherever the inferior contradicts the superior, the latter prevails.
· However, for the philosophy of the feel good factor, under the above mentioned sections to be deleted, if they were to be improved, then we would suggest the following as per each section:-
· After the words “to accredit” delete the words “and issue press cards to” and insert the words “and issue certificate of accreditation to…”
The reason for this suggestion is that the Independent Media Council to be established by this law needs to have a stable the source of income. We are of the opinion that members’ subscription fees is a good source of income for the Independent Media Council to sustain its operations.
Therefore, we propose the Board (if not deleted as proposed above) shall go ahead with the mandate to accredit journalists and issue the “accreditation certificate” which will be used as the proof before the Independent Media Council for the bearer to be issued the “Press Card” by the Council. A similar process is practiced by Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) whereby advocates are accredited by the High Court but issued licenses by TLS. This assures sustainability of the Council.
· We propose these two subsections to be deleted as they are taken care of under section 25.
· Therefore, the subsection for section 12 should be renumbered to read; (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f).
· Before the words “suspend or expunge…” insert the words “in consultation with the Council”
The reason for this suggestion is that the Council is the only organ under this Bill charged with proceeding role. Therefore, allowing any other organ to unilaterally determine the fate of a journalist without consultation with the Council might jeopardize the interests of the profession.
· We propose immediately after subsection (1) to add sub section (2) which reads:-
(2) A person shall qualify for accreditation as a journalist if that person -
(a) possess a degree in journalism or mass communication or any other media related field from a recognized institution of higher learning;
(b) posses at least a diploma in journalism and a degree in any other discipline from a recognized institution of higher learning;
· Reasons: Profoundly, we believe that this is the heart of the law. Journalists in Tanzania need
to command high level of knowledge to match with cutting age technology. We need to focus on 100 years to come and beyond. This fundamental decision of requiring all journalist to have professional training will guide the country smoothly to specialization which will foster the country development at a quicker pace than before.
We have no reason to shy away from this decision. Education is a corner stone for development and a nation with well trained journalists (with specializations) is likely to negotiate her way out of poverty quickly, based on the fact that information (from informed source) is power.
We strongly believe that once the issue of qualification is enshrined in the law, it will be an assurance that Tanzania is seriously embarking on the process of professionalizing journalism than waiting for regulations which at times might be unpredictable!
The fear that some bloggers and individuals interested in airing, writing or otherwise contributing their views through mainstream media or online platform might be compromised by setting the degree standard as a qualification for practicing journalists is baseless.
This law targets only professional journalists who collect, process and publish news through mainstream media.
· Consequently, we propose after this sub section 2 to add a new sub section 3, which reads:-
· (3) All practicing journalist shall have five years grace period to acquire the relevant qualification after the commencement of this act.
· Following the above mentioned amendments thence we hereby propose Section 18 to be renumbered as Section 18 (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6) and (7).
· After the words “issued with press card by…” delete the word “Board” and insert “Independent Media Council after exhibiting the accreditation certificate from the board.”
· After the words “make application to the…” delete the word “Board” and insert the words “Independent Media Council” for harmonization across the Bill.
· After the words “of wider circulation…” delete the word “or” and insert words “and on…” This intends to make it easy to access the list of accredited journalists at any time throughout the world on the website.
· Under subsection (1) (a) delete the words “in consultation with the board”.
· After Sub Section (1)(d) insert a new subsection (e) reading “to issue press cards to accredited journalists”
· Renumber subsection (e) as subsection (f).
Section 28(2) (b)
· Must be stated that the issuance of the press card is a principle source of income for the Council to be financially sound and independent.
· Delete subsection (2) & (3)
Reason: There is no way a dead person can be defamed. It has been tested all over the world that the principle requirement for one to prove defamation is personal experience on how one felt after contested words were published against him or her. No dead person is capable of testifying this, hence no law should provide for the impossible.
Under section 33(1) after the words “print, writing, painting…” delete the word “effigy or other means”
· After the words “media outlets without…” delete the word “licensing” and insert the word “registration”.
(c) After the words “any statement the content of which is…” insert the word “intentionally…”
(d) After subsection (d) and after the words “shall be liable to a fine…” delete the words “of not less than five million shillings and not exceeding twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a period not less than three years but not exceeding five years” and insert the words “of not exceeding three million shillings or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years”.
(f) After the words “Shall be liable to a fine…” delete the words “not less than five million shillings but not exceeding twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a period not less than three years but not exceeding five years…” and insert the words “of three million shillings or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years…”
(2) (d) After the “Shall be liable to a fine…” delete the words “not less than five million shillings but not exceeding twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a period not less than three years but not exceeding five years…” and insert the words “of three million shillings or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years…”
Reason: Sanctions imposed to offenders are not intended to damage the offender but rather to mould/discipline, teach or reintegrate the offender within his or her society, hence compelling long term imprisonment or hefty fines might end up not serving the intended purpose.
(1) After the words “Shall be liable upon conviction for the first offense to a fine…” delete the words “not less than five million shillings but not exceeding ten million shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not less than three years but not exceeding five years…” Also after the words “or to both…” delete the words “and for the subsequent offense, to a fine of not less than eight million shillings but not exceeding twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not less than five years and not exceeding ten years…” and insert the words “of three million shillings or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years…”
· After the words “sedition intention is…” delete “an intention to” and insert “deliberate act to”
Reason: The inserted words will reduce unnecessary repetition of words.
· After the words “Any person who…” insert the word “deliberately”
(d) After the words “Shall be liable upon conviction in the case of first offender to a fine…” delete the words “not less than five million shillings but not exceeding ten million shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not less than three years but not exceeding five years…” Also after the words “or to both…” delete the words “and for the subsequent offense, to a fine of not less than seven million shillings and not exceeding twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not less than five years and not exceeding ten years…” and insert the words “of three million shillings or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years…”
Subsections (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11) and (12) should be deleted and replaced with a new section to be named subsection (2), reading as follows:-
“Any person who is convicted of publishing seditious material upon conviction shall be liable to a fine of three million shillings or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to both.”
Reason: Printing machine is commanded by a person hence it is passive.
(1) After the words “any person who…” insert the word “deliberately”
After the words “upon conviction, to a fine…” delete the words “note less than ten million shillings but not exceeding twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not less than four years and not exceeding six years or both” and insert the words “not exceeding three million shillings or an imprisonment not exceeding three years or to both”
(1) After the words or body of persons, delete the words “every person who, at the time of the commission of the offense, was concerned as a director or an officer with the management of the affairs or activities of such company or a body corporate, a society, an association or a body of persons, commits an offense and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of not less than fifteen million shillings but exceeding twenty five million shillings.”
Then rewrite the paragraph to read: “a person who, at the time of the commission of the offense, was a principle officer with the management of the affairs or activities of such company or a body corporate, a society, an association or a body of persons, commits an offense and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding five million shillings.”
(2) After the words “such person…” delete the words “director or any officer”.
This section should be deleted as it is taken care of under section 52.
· After the words “contrary to the public interest…” delete the words “it may in its absolute discretion and by order published in the Gazette…” and insert words “may apply to the court to…”
After the words “public safety…” insert the word “after seeking the court order”
After the words “used for such purpose…” insert the word “after seeking the court order”
(1) After the words “affected by it…” delete the words “in any manner” and insert the words “in a manner prescribed by the regulations.”
(2) After the word “Gazette…” insert the words “newspaper with wider circulation and on the website…”
Delete subsection (2)
(2) (a) After the words “operation of…” delete the word “license” and insert “register”
(b) delete the word “licensing” and insert “registering”
(g) delete this subsection as it contravenes business principles and hinders investments.
Dar es Salaam, September 25, 2016