AfrikaYetu

An upcoming public and policy engagement non-profit consultancy focusing on Social, Political and Ecological Justice issues in Afrika. We work and stand in solidarity with communities in mineral rich areas in Afrika and other global south environments.

Drowning Fish: Media Downfall

The recent events that transpired in Zanzibar are nothing short of heartbreaking, with various parties to blame. An unstable regulatory authority, that would not step up to the plate and stop what was an obviously overloaded ferry, a crew who, through reports, beat and forced individuals against their own will to stay on the ferry and also passengers who felt obliged to get onto an overloaded vessel that was clearly in poor condition. With this fiasco turned into a grim loss of lives, we onlookers still ask one unanswered question; who should the accusing fingers be directed to? Let’s read on…

The Sunken Giant

The whole scenario is heart-tearing but what is even more disgusting is the shallow coverage accorded to this matter by the Media practitioners in Tanzania. The attitude of the media is like that of accessories to the crime committed by the crew and other parties involved.

Just over six months ago an arms depot on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam exploded leaving one too many residents of Gongo la Mboto homeless and some even residing in tents. The night of the blasts the same guilty party (Tanzanian Media) were nowhere to be heard from; simply waiting for the sun to rise, probably, like the Zanzibar president apparently did upon being informed of the ill fated water vessel.

It’s understood, yet heart-rending, that Tanzania doesn’t have an organized marine rescue system but this should not be the case with media houses when it comes to responding to such incidences. Public broadcaster TBC had regular programming during the day sidelining the ongoing tragedy while independent TV station ITV brought hourly updates as breaking news reports. The first reports actually came from Zanzibari stations and international media houses along with the ever faithful Jamii forums for those who were online.

Two days after the sunken ferry disaster an incident in Kenya where a gas pipeline exploded in the Industrial area of Nairobi saw “accurate” pictures and information available for all to hear and see. Now it can be debated that the incident happened in a more accessible place for factual dissemination and that the time that it happened was easier to work with but it still says something about our watchdogs from the fourth estate.

Let us remember that we were informed that Miss Ilala so and so is now our Trophy representation for the upcoming year that should be paraded as we forget those nameless individuals who perished in what is now a national disaster.

It is also ever so disappointing that even a picture posted in relation to the story was not accurate but rather plucked from a post on the internet by a contributor on Jamii forums and used by various media houses on the upcoming days.

Below is a link to Njombe’s Daraja, a very well analysed piece on how the media has slipped to a point of convincing people of how unreliable they just might be.

http://blog.daraja.org/2011/09/tanzanian-media-has-had-bad-crisis.html

Quoting the write up “Tanzanian media has not had a huge crisis

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This entry was posted on September 20, 2011 by in Extractive Industry.

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