Business Times; Friday 25-31Jan, 2008
By Allen Mushatsi
The executive chairman of IPP Ltd and chairman of media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT), Reginald Mengi, has said that media have an important role to play in empowering citizens. His remark came on Monday this week when addressing journalists during the opening of a regional training course organized by the commonwealth press union (CPU).
The chairman said that by covering issue and activities of public interest, journalists can help create awareness among the people regarding what is taking place in society. The other thing, he said that the media was capable of sensitizing the public through analytical journalism, involving a critical approach to issue taking place in society.
Mengi went further, saying the media can empower society by setting the right agenda aimed at enlightening the public. “Indeed, the media potential to empower citizens is there. The challenge of how to make use if such potential is on the shoulders of journalists”, he stressed.
Making a point on a training course named ‘Empowering citizens through reader-friendly newspaper;’ he said trainees would brainstorm on a number of topical issues in society, apart from improving their writing skills.
“An enlightened or empowered citizen knows his/her rights and will thus strive to liberate himself/herself socially and economically. Empowered citizens are not likely to tolerate bad governance in society reflected in lack of freedom of movement and expression, or corruption, the worst forms of which are seen in plundering national resources…realize the power of their vote during election times and use it to bring peaceful and morally acceptable leadership changes,” Mengi explained.
The training course has brought together journalists from Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and Mozambique and the host country. Tanzania for the whole of this week, they covered on some strategies the media can use in order to interact with and empower citizens. Together with other speakers, Rob jamieson acted as a training course consultant