The media in the country has a crucial role to play in reporting the coronavirus pandemic, the Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) Kajubi Mukajanga has said.
“ We have to report the pandemic accurately and should avoid to capitalize through sensational headlines to boost sales”, Mukajanga said in an interview with a section of the media on March 19, 2020.
Mukajanga who in the interview repeatedly referred to the pandemic as a disaster, said when you have a disaster of such magnitude it is pertinent to know that there will be so much information whose accuracy is not guaranteed.
“At the same time there will be others who will be fabricating issues and post on social media…there will be so much fake news” he cautioned.
In such situation, we should strive to establish the truth so that we do not become part of the problem by disseminating false information.
Mukajanga also cautioned on the tendency of turning disasters into commercial opportunities.
If were are not careful, journalists may also take advantage of this disaster by using the coronavirus pandemic to boost sales.
Our headlines should project real situation, they should not create panic, he said
For television, Mukajanga , advised that they should be rational and careful on the photos they use.
Citing the wearing masks, the World Health Organisation (WHO), he said had underscored their importance and that they are meant for those infected and those caring for them.
He said this calamity is multi dimensional as it affects not only health but also the economy, culture and sports.
He advised media that the pandemic requires comprehensive reporting with comparisons of other calamities.
He also appealed to media to stick to journalism and avoid to be preachers on corona and urged them to use statistics accurately.
In such calamities statistics are normally not 100 per cent accurate, he said adding that they should only help in explaining the magnitude of the problem.
Every time, he went on statistics are behind compared to reality… there is a big chance that more people have been infected but since they have not been tested they are not known. It is only those who have been tested or found in certain conditions or environment and established as infected.
He also appealed to the media to apply the statistic in context to avoid creating panic.
Emphasizing on the pivotal role of the media, Mukajanga said “we are the ones who inform the public and at the same time take information from the leaders to the public and give feedback to the leaders.
There is no time we need to abide by professional requirements, as times of calamities, he said.
We should use reputable sources such as the Government and WHO and should avoid picking reckless posts from social media.
The Media should bring hope… we should promote the type of journalism that aims at solutions instead of creating panic.
He also appealed to media outlets to ensure that those assigned to cover the coronavirus pandemic remain safe.
He said that journalists are human beings like others , and there safety should be taken care.
The Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), Kajubi Mukajanga, speaks in an interview on the role of the media in covering the menace of the corona virus pandemic.