President Samia is right to demand analytical journalism

By Lake Zone Watch Writer

Since her ascendancy to the powerful position on the land on March 19, 2021, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has been a fervent advocate of press freedom, allowing the media to be vibrant, analytical and responsible in articulating the nation’s aspirations.

The president repeated her guarantee of press freedom at the June 18 to 19, 2024 conference of media workers held at the Mlimani city complex in Dar es Salaam to discuss the information sector’s development.

Tanzania’s Constitution provides fundamental guarantees for the media to operate in a manner that professionals would dream of. Explicitly, it ensures freedom of assembly, association and expression of thoughts in writing and the like.

Broadly, the press serves to stimulate popular devotion to national struggle, strengthen unity, foster national responsibility, discipline, and obsession in development. The press has the rights to constructive social control in articulating people’s desires in a framework of positive interactions between the press, the government and the people.

Indeed, there is no substitute for press freedom to enable the media enlighten members of our societies with information relevant to their needs. The government would stand to benefit from an enlightened public, and that a well-informed public would make the government less dependent on secret services reports for information about what people think and feel.

This is where President Samia’s calls for analytical journalism comes in. Tanzanian journalists, as responsible citizens, need to raise the standard of their profession through acquiring the tools of analysis to enable them write informative and well- researched articles or news reports.

While coverage of inadequacies and excesses in the implementation of government policies is permitted, we need investigative people in the media who are well-versed with what is happening at home and abroad regarding developments in the globalised world.

In this digital age, how on earth can we solve the existential threats humankind faces, if our information space is dysfunctional, if we can’t have a proper debate, if we can’t even agree on basic truths anymore?

The immediate answer is that we need analytical people who can come up with reliable information on political and economic issues of our time to save lives, everywhere.

Under President Samia’s rule, independent journalism is indisputably a public good. By reporting on the events shaping our world and exposing criminal wrongdoing and ethical indiscretions, especially by those in power, journalists enable informed debate, strengthen accountability, and protect people’s rights and interests. We must not wait until it’s too late to recognize the importance of their work.

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