THE suspended bill of the amendments of Media Services Act of 2016 will be tabled in the National Assembly for the first reading today, the Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology Nape Nnauye revealed on Thursday.
The development comes after the Director of Information Services and Chief Government Spokesperson, Mr Gerson Msigwa, announced on Tuesday that the long-awaited amendments of the Media Services Act of 2016 has been pushed forward to the forthcoming budget session of the National Assembly slated to start in April, this year.
The suspension triggered complaints from the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) on why the delay was necessary in the amendment process.
Addressing the media in Dodoma, Mr Nnauye urged the media stakeholders to continue having faith in the government, especially on the process of amending the provisions of the Act.
The Minister said that the amendments will be read today in the National Assembly following the cancellation of Universal Health Coverage bill which was scheduled to be tabled in Parliament.
“The amendments of the Act was suspended due to limited time but the cancellation of Universal Health bill pushes information bill to be read tomorrow (today)” he said
However, he urged the media stakeholders to cooperate with the government if there are issues that need clarification.
“I call upon media stakeholders to cooperate with the government on issues related to the amendment of the Media Services Act rather than discouraging journalists and Tanzanians in general with news that have not been well researched,” he said.
He added that in ensuring freedom of information and expression, the sixth phase government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan has spared no effort in improving relations with the Media as well as ensuring freedom of expression.
“President Samia has made a lot of efforts to improve the media sector including meeting with media stakeholders and discussing the challenges of the media law and advising them to propose amendments to the law,” he added
Last year Mr Nnauye announced that the government is planning to amend the Media Services Act as part of its efforts to uphold the welfare of journalists and the media industry at large.
“The aim for the amendments is to provide a conducive working environment for journalists through which their freedom and rights will be promoted and protected,” Mr Nnauye said.