28 April 2016, Dar es Salaam: Media professionals and stakeholders in the United Republic of Tanzania will this year come together in Mwanza to commemorate World Press Freedom Day – WPFD 2016. The event will be held at Malaika Beach Resort in Mwanza on May 2nd and 3rd, 2016.
Hon. Mohamed Chande Othman, Chief Justice of Tanzania will officiate the event as the Guest of Honour. The event will also be graced by the Minister for Information, Sports, Culture and Artistes, Hon. Nape Nnauye (MP), UNESCO Representative and Head of Office, Ms. Zulmira Rodrigues, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Alvaro Rodriguez, H.E Roeland van de Geer, Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation and other diplomatic missions in Tanzania, among other dignitaries.
Theme for this year’s commemoration is “Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms: This is Your Right!”
This annual event profiles the fundamental principles of press freedom; provides a platform for all media sector actors to evaluate press freedom in the United Republic of Tanzania and around the world; promotes dialogue and calls for action to protect media workers from persecution in their line of work, and to pay tribute to journalists and other media professionals who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
WPFD, observed annually across the world, was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation adopted at the 26th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on Media Pluralism and Independence. WPFD has grown to become a forum for media stakeholders to urge States to stand by their commitments and joint action to put in place, friendly media laws and to ensure a general conducive working environment which guarantees press freedom in their respective countries.
In 2016, World Press Freedom Day coincides with three important milestones:
• The 250th anniversary of the world’s first freedom of information law, covering both modern-day Sweden and Finland.
• The 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration of press freedom principles and;
• The first year of the 15 year life-cycle of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Against this background, World Press Freedom Day in 2016 highlights the links between press freedom, a culture of openness and the right to freedom of information, and sustainable development in the digital age. The common thread in all these is the role of journalism, and the importance of safeguarding those who bring this service to the public.
The conference in Mwanza will provide a platform to discuss and deliberate on the implication of laws that the government has passed, including bills tabled in Parliament last year including the Cybercrime Act 2015, Statistics Act 2015, Media Services Bill and the bill for the Access to Information Law.
During the event, victims of press freedom violations will give testimonies on their experiences and lessons learnt from veterans in the field,
A report on the state of media in Southern Africa authored by Media Institute of Southern Africa – MISA titled, So Is This Democracy? will be launched alongside a Gender Policy for Community Media developed by Gender and Media-Southern Africa (Tanzania Chapter) with support from UNESCO.
The event is expected to attract over 250 participants from within Tanzania as well as from abroad. Representatives from the Government, Parliament, International Organizations and diplomatic missions have confirmed to attend. Others include media practitioners, Heads of National NGOs, Academia, members of the civil society and practicing journalists.
The event has been jointly organized by a National Press Freedom Committee chaired by the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Tanzania Chapter (MISA) Tanzania Chapter, UNESCO, Tanzania Media Foundation (TMF), Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC), the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC),Tanzania Editors’ Forum (TEF) Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Tanzania (KAS), Media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT), Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA), Mwanza Press Club and Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA).
WPFD 2016 organizing Committee is proud to be associated with the United Nations System in Tanzania, the European Union Delegation and the US Embassy in Tanzania. We thank them for their support!
If you are a media stakeholder, do not miss this premier media event of the year in Mwanza.