July 7th 2020
Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) has concluded a meeting with media and civil society stakeholders in Tanzania which focused on forging stronger partnership between the media and civil society sectors to protect the right to the enjoyment of civil liberties in the country.
The online meeting held on Tuesday July 7, 2020 discussed the situation in Tanzania regarding the role of the two sectors in working together to promote greater enjoyment of civil liberties. The forum called for more proactive engagement with the government and other players to create an enabling environment ahead of the country’s General Elections in October.
“We wish to urge the media and civil society sectors to work together, not just in Tanzania but across East Africa to raise critical human rights and governance issues on behalf of the citizens of the region and to engage the states constructively to address the emerging concerns and actual violations of human rights,” said KCA Chairman, William Oloo Janak during his address to the forum.
Janak said KCA’s initiative was meant to create opportunities to enhance the collaboration between the CSOs and the media to better defend civic space and help correct the emerging negative narratives and perceptions of civil society and the media in East Africa meant to undermine their role of holding the states, agencies and leaders accountable.
The forum reviewed the civic space in Tanzania within the Covid19 period with a number of participants saying information about the pandemic was only communicated by key state officials making it difficult for what was happening within the communities to emerge in the public domain.
Journalists at the forum said the media in the country faced hard economic times which had led to job loses adding that some media outlets faced complete shutdown, which they said would undermine access to information to many Tanzanians.
The stakeholders agreed to enhance collaboration between the CSOs and the Media in their role as citizens’ voices and would seek to engage the government in dialogue to discuss areas of concern in the civic space arena.
Participants from Rwanda and Burundi, who joined in the discussions, appealed to both media and civil society organizations from the other East African states to help highlight ongoing human rights violations in the two countries saying lack of adequate inclusion in regional conversations was making them suffer. Janak said the initiative to enhance media –CSO collaboration will seek to bring in all actors from the East African region to create a stronger voice and capacity in the ongoing efforts to protect the civic space in the region.