Tanzania: Sex Corruption Still a Challenge for Female Journalists

DESPITE growing job opportunities in the media industry, sex corruption and lack of job security for female journalists in the country are still the challenges holding back the development of media industry.

This argument was delivered at a meeting that brought together media stakeholders here to discuss challenges in the media. The meeting was organised by the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA).

The TAMWA Director Ms Rose Reuben argued that some surveys have revealed many incidents of harassment of women journalists in newsrooms and those seeking for job in the media industry.

Although the discussion was about the development of the media in the country, participants largely focused on the media freedom and operation in Zanzibar, their safety, sexual corruption and gender equality.

Ms Reuben said gender inequality in newsrooms deprives women of many opportunities, including displaying their potential in the profession.

She informed the gathering further that in some workplaces women are denied jobs because of the perception that they are lazy and cannot withstand work pressure.

“Newsrooms are still dominated by patriarchy and unfortunately owners and editors are turning a blind eye as if there is no problem,” she said.

“We believe that with gender equality and a better working environment in the media is possible. Sex corruption and any harassment is contrary to ethics,” she said, adding that violation of rights of women, girls and children should continue to be reported and legal action taken to bring about changes.

Opening the meeting, the Zanzibar Minister for Information, Youth, Arts, Culture and Sports Ms Tabia Maulid Mwita, assured participants that the proposed Zanzibar new media law would solve many challenges faced by journalists and media.

She explained that the proposed media law, which is now at the level of permanent secretaries in the government, has taken into account all the basic requirements that if met, the media sector will achieve the expected efficiency.

The Minister acknowledged that the media environment in the country remains unsatisfactory, citing low number of women journalists in the newsroom, sexual corruption, and low pay with no employment contract as some of the setbacks for the media to grow.

“These factors, and others, are what discourage women journalists. When they decide to enter the industry they hope to grow professionally, and reach the highest levels, but what they find is regret and disappointment,” the minister noted.

Ms Tabia also viewed that the challenges would be fully resolved after the Zanzibar Broadcasting Commission (ZBC) secured a new broadcasting policy currently being developed.

She said the media sector currently needs a timely policy in line with global technological change, insisting that the government and information stakeholders should work together to ensure the policy meets women’s interests as well as their safety.

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