Tanzania's parliament has approved the Media Services Bill 2016 aimed at promoting professionalism in the media industry.
Harrison Mwakyembe, the Minister for Justice and Constitution Affairs, said the new law has been enacted at a time when the media industry in the east African nation was facing a crisis of lack of professionalism.
"The media industry in Tanzania has been invaded by people who do not have the basic ethical qualifications to practise journalism," he told the House on Saturday shortly after the MPs approved the Bill in the political capital Dodoma.
The minister said countries across the world were putting in place strict regulations to ensure journalists practised within the law and violations resulted to serious penalties.
Nape Nnauye, the Minister for Information, Culture, Artists and Sports, said there were several amendments made on the final Bill, including the rights and duties of journalists, the rights of media houses or owners to appeal, representation of journalists at the accreditation board and procedures to allow the Attorney General to hear defamation cases very fast.
He mentioned other amended areas as reduction of penalties to journalists on some offences, security officials' confiscation of production equipment and printers not directly involved on offences of the newspapers.
"We have now put in place a democratic and transparent process to deal with any unfair penalties on media houses," he said.
Nnauye told parliament that any aggrieved media house can appeal to the minister of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports and where they were not satisfied with the minister's decision can go to court.
On Friday, President John Magufuli said he will assent the Bill into law as soon as it landed on his table.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.