IMS supports development of code of conduct for online journalists in Tanzania

IMS has helped put in place a code of conduct for bloggers and YouTubers in Tanzania, to encourage them to protect privacy and live up to journalistic standards in their work.

Bloggers within the Lake Zone in Tanzania are now able to identify fake news and curb disinformation as they have set up a mechanism for self-regulation following an intensive capacity building session as well as a code of conduct to regulate their conducts.   

As a self-regulatory mechanism, IMS in collaboration with UTPC developed the Online Code of Conduct through consultation workshops with Bloggers and YouTubers Association, involving a group of 54 bloggers who committed themselves through a press club ethics’ committee to adhere to the code of conduct.

The document was shared with the Tanzania Communication Regulation Authority for validation.

Kadama Malunde, a blogger and a chairperson for bloggers in the Lake zone admits that in the past, most of them used to post just anything as they had no code of conduct let alone the skills to identify real news from fake ones.

Michael Maduhu, a journalist in Shinyanga region says the code has helped them to check sources of news before they post them unlike in the past where they simply used to copy and paste and at times sharing fake news as a result, but they now countercheck and mention its source.

Edwin Soko, Mwanza Press Club Chair says the Code of conduct for bloggers has helped them to come with regulations as it provides guidelines on how to report children’s stories by concealing their image as well as to avoid posting images which are of bad taste especially from accidents.

“The Code calls on bloggers to protect privacy and not to use pics without consent,” says Edwin Soko. A situation he says has helped bloggers to avoid ban and fines from regulatory authorities.

Before the code of conduct, a scribe got into trouble for publication of a picture without consent where he shared a story of a retired commercial sex worker and had to compensate the latter with 10 million shillings as part of damage control, he recalls. 

Previously, there was no such thing as a code of conduct for journalists who work online. This resulted into majority of online journalists facing suspension, fines, as well as detainment for violating journalism ethics, adds a statement from Francis Mihayo from Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority.