Tanzania – Journalists’ code of ethics and the rights of children

Journalists’ code of ethics and the rights of children, adopted by the Media Council of Tanzania.

Code of conduct adopted by the Media Council of Tanzania, a voluntary non-statutory body whose task is to ensure the highest professional standards. The Codes are enshrined the Constitutions of the Association of Journalists and Media Workers (AIM) and Tanzania Journalists Association (TAJA).

Article 1: The Right to Truth
(a) Every journalist has a duty to tell, adhere to, adore and faithfully defend, the truth.
(b) A journalist shall make adequate inquiries, do cross-checking of facts in order to provide the public with unbiased, accurate, balanced comprehensive information/news.

Article 2: Professional Integrity
A journalist should not solicit, not accept bribes or any form of inducement meant to bend or influence professional performance.

Article 3: Non-Disclosure of Source
A journalist should not disclose sources of information given in confidence.

Article 4: Social Responsibility
A journalist shall, in collection and dissemination of information, bear in mind his/her responsibility to the public which means to educate citizens and others on matters affecting them and their surroundings, and consistently strive to put ahead of others, matters of public and national interest.

Article 5: Respect for Human Dignity
(a) A journalist should avoid violation of individual privacy and human dignity unless such violation is done for a provable public interest.
(b) A journalist should guard against libel, slander and defamation in general.
(C) A journalist should respect and consistently work for attainment of human rights an d fuller freedom.

Article 6: Discrimination
A journalist should not engage in publication, directly or indirectly or by implication, of stories, information, photos that injure, or discriminate against anybody for his/her colour, religion, origin or sex.

Article 7: Identity and the Underdog.
(a) A journalist should not open to ridicule the underdog including minors, the old, the bereaved and any other underprivileged persons or communities.
(b) A journalist should avoid identifying victims of sexual assault unless the victim is dead and that a journalist secure consent from a living victim.

Article 8: Facts and Comments
(a) A journalist should always draw a clear line between comment, conjecture and fact.
(b) A journalist should not plagiarize and where other’s material is used credit should be given to source.

Article 9: Sensationalism
Sensationalism is mainly inherent in stories but a journalist must guard against highlighting incidents out of context, either in headlines or in reportage/narration.

Article 10: Correction and Right of Reply
(a) Any warranted correction must be done promptly and with due prominence.
(b) Apologies should be published whenever appropriate and accorded due prominence.
(c) An individual, group, organization who disputes a published report should be given an opportunity to reply.

Article 11: Working Together.
Journalists should work together in safeguarding this Code of Ethics which is applicable to members in the state-owned media, private media and local freelance journalists.

The rights of the child
Part Three of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania provides Basic Rights under Articles 12, 13, 14,15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24.

Tanzania is also a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child all which obligate governments to protect the child from all forms of physical and mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment.

Governments also have the obligation to protect children from engaging in work that constitutes a threat to their health, education or development and to regulate conditions of employment.

Although Tanzania ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on May 26, 1991 it is however yet to legislate specific enactment into laws so that the rights contained in the Convention can be considered enforceable. As a result, the provisions of the Convention can not be invoked in a court of law.

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