THE reports by some sections of the media in the neighbouring Kenya that Tanzania is prying in the neighbouring country’s politics ahead of the August general election are reckless, unethical and frivolous to say the least.
Journalists are guided by ethics and any media organisation that is worth its salt should be careful and at leastverify its sources before publishing.
As if that is not enough,the ABCs of journalism entail that reporters are supposed to balance their stories before publishing them.But, a trend by some media organisations these days to publish unbalanced stories, is tantamount to witchcraft in that they tend to cause unnecessary conflicts.
The power of the media cannot be under estimated and history has it that many conflicts, genocides, wars and even civil unrests have been fuelled by the media.
This is done through agenda setting whereby they dictate the pace and control the audience’s minds. And for a media organisation to publish such damaging information without concrete proof and through hearsay or unverified social media is suicidal.
The media undoubtedly played a pivotal role in building the existing relations between Kenya and Tanzania, but the media have the potential to destroy the peace and tranquility between the two countries.
That is why it is important for media to check their stories and make sure that they publish something that is for the good of the people in the two countries and the East African Region as a whole.
Gone are the days when newspaper would publish lies, knowing that their papers will not cross borders and no one from the defamed countries will see it. With social media taking the centre stage, those media organisations that were publishing damaging stories should have known that, their stories will be read everywhere in the world, including Tanzania.
This saw the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Aziz Mlima, castigating misleading article that appeared in the weekly newspaper ‘Citizen’ with the title, “Magufuli lures Museveni to back Raila.”
The PS made it clear that Tanzania has never thought of meddling in Kenya or any other country’s internal affairs. He said the accusations that are levelled against the country that it has entered into an agreement with some politicians are not true.
He went on to add, “Media organisations must research and publish information that helps our countries to move forward instead of creating tension by misleading the public.”
The PS could not have put it better, the media should be responsible and know that they have readers who rely on them for correct information.
The media, therefore, should make sure that they verify their sources and stop publishing hogwash stories that are not balanced and are bent on inciting the public and on the other hand to fulfil their personal agenda.