The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, announces the creation of the IPI Tanzania National Committee, which will bring a powerful new voice to the fight for press freedom and independent journalism in Tanzania.

IPI National Committees are national-level associations of IPI members, who are media professionals and media-related institutions that share a commitment to quality, independent journalism. The IPI Tanzania National Committee has been created in close cooperation with the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), the country’s leading association of independent editors, which has also joined the IPI network as an institutional member. The Media Council of Tanzania, another IPI institutional member, is also represented on the Committee.

The IPI General Assembly approved by unanimous vote the creation of the Tanzania National Committee at IPI’s 2019 World Congress in Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this month. Deodatus Balile, TEF acting chairperson, addressed the General Assembly on the media freedom situation in Tanzania and the importance of IPI’s presence there.

In April, IPI carried out a press freedom mission to Tanzania in partnership with TEF and the local office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The visit was a response to Tanzania’s press freedom crisis, which has seen the introduction of repressive media laws and arbitrary suspensions of media outlets by the government.

“It is a naked fact that for the last three years press freedom, freedom of expression and civic space has been closing in Tanzania”, Balile said. “We find IPI has proved capable of helping our country. Through dialogue we will review our laws, improve press freedom, professionalism and the working conditions for journalists.”

The founding members of the IPI Tanzania National Committee are:

• Deodatus Balile, Managing Editor, Jamhuri Newspaper, and Acting Chairperson, Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF)
• Jesse Kwayu, Chief Editor, Nipashe Newspaper, and Board Member, TEF
• Bakari Machumu, Executive Editor, Mwananchi Communications Ltd. Nation Media Group
• Neville Meena, Editor and Secretary, TEF
• Kajubi Dioclesc Mukajanga, Executive Secretary, Media Council of Tanzania (MCT)
• Joyce Shebe, Editor, Clouds Media; Chair, Tanzanian Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) and Board Member, TEF
• Lilian Timbuka, News Editor, Mwananchi Newspaper; Board Member, TEF

“We are very pleased to welcome the Tanzania National Committee to IPI’s global press freedom network”, IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said. “Independent journalism in Tanzania is under great threat and it is critical for the media community to work together at both the national and international levels. We are convinced that the IPI Tanzania National Committee, with the support of IPI members around the world, will prove an effective voice in fighting for the rights of all journalists in Tanzania to collect and publish information in the public interest.”

She added: “We are also proud to have the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), which is highly respected for its commitment to quality, independent journalism, join IPI as an institutional member.”

Founded in 1950, the International Press Institute (IPI) is a global network of editors, journalists and media executives dedicated to furthering and safeguarding press freedom, promoting the free flow of news and information, and improving the practices of journalism. Today, IPI has members in nearly 100 countries and has numerous National Committees including in Germany, the UK, Norway, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Nigeria, South Korea and Japan.