The Tanzania Media Fund (TMF) has been praised for its critical role in empowering media professionals to unearth serious issues of public importance and for the country’s development.
The positive comments came from some development partners yesterday in the wake of public applause over the media contribution in the ongoing country’s political reforms — by exposing embezzlement of public funds and corruption syndicates in public offices.
Civil societies have openly commended media role in the recent cabinet reshuffle, in which a number of ministers and deputies were dropped after being implicated in the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) reports for corruption and embezzlement of public funds.
Speaking during a tour of The Guardian offices yesterday, officials representing the development partners which fund TMF programmes said journalists’ courage and aggressiveness to expose misdeeds in public circles could partly be attributed to TMF’s media empowerment programmes.
“Our country is now witnessing aggressiveness on the part of media professionals…and this is a big step towards the realisation of the country’s development goals and targets,” said Zabdiel Kimambo, Governance Adviser of Department International Development (DFID), at the end of a tour of one of the TMF’s supported-media project at The Guardian Ltd.
Kimambo was part of delegation of officials from TMF’s financiers—Switzerland, DFID, Holland, Ireland and Denmark, which are currently visiting a number of media projects funded by TMF.
He praised TMF for being in a forefront in empowering media and journalists and thus enabling them to expose matters of importance to the nation, noting that “aggressive media and courageous journalists testifies TMF’s role in supporting members of the media fraternity.”
Besides exposing corruption scams, he said, journalists were now really playing a “watchdog role”, helping people down at the grassroot levels to voice out their concerns.
Through TMF’s fellowship programmes, he said, some media professionals had acquired skills and knowledge on how to source out information on problems facing rural communities and take them up to surface. “In fact, I am really impressed by the role played by TMF in supporting journalists,” said Kimambo.
TMF Executive Director, Ernest Sungura made an impassionate appeal to the media professionals in Tanzania to apply for funds from TMF in order pursue investigative stories, which have substantial contribution to the country’s economic growth and development.
“The money is there…they have to come forward, with ideas and proposals on what they want to do. We encourage investigative journalism, because we believe that’s the strategic area where media could contribute significantly to the national development initiatives,” said Sungura.