Women journalists, drawn from different Press Clubs scattered all over the country, made a phase I study and familiarization tour of Dar es Salaam – based Mwananchi Communications Ltd and Azam Media Group recently.
The one – day tour involved representatives of ten Press Clubs including Media Club of Kilimanjaro, Mtwara Press Club, Tanga Press Club, Iringa Press Club, Tabora Press Club, Media Club of Manyara, Morogoro Press Club, Zanzibar Press Club, Njombe Press Club and Shinyanga Press Club.
Divided into two groups of five representatives each, one group toured Mwananchi Communications Ltd while visited Azam Media Group, both of which are private entities.
The visiting journalists with respective Press Clubs in brackets are Vumilia Kondo (Morogoro Press Club), Anitha Balingitabi (Simiyu Press Club), Tabia Makame (Zanzibar Press Club) and Vernica Mtaka (Njombe Press Club.
Others are Stella Ibengwe (Shinyanga Press Club), Salma Abdul (Tabora Press Club, Teddy Charles (Media Club of Manyara), Mwajuma Kitwana (Mtwara Press Club), Raya Kipingu (Tanga Press Club and Tukusigwa Mwaisumbe (Iringa Press Club).
After having been taken around the two companies’ news rooms, they were, indeed, inspired by what they saw for themselves and learned and became convinced that they can equally do the same if accorded an opportunity and an enabling environment like their colleagues whom they met.
A key interest of the visitors was essentially to see for themselves how the aforesaid colleagues in the media industry, entrusted with editorial responsibilities, manage to fulfil their obligations as efficiently without fear amid day – to – day work – related challenges.
For instance, for those who visited Azam Media Group including Vumilia, Tabia, Veronica and Anita, all expressed their total dismay upon discovery that fellow females holding senior editorial positions are only two at present.
Going by what they were told by their host, Ms Jane Shirima who is news stories & events depart editor, lack of self-confidence, carelessness, laxity, uncooperativeness and secretiveness, on the part of females themselves, regarding their personal lives were just some of the challenges facing the womenfolk working in news rooms.
According to the other group of females comprising five journalists, which went to the Mwananchi Communications Ltd, on the other hand, they had an audience with Ms Janeth Prosper, a features chief editor and Ms Esther Mngodo who is a news editor.
Like at the Azam Media Group, the visitors asserted that ratio of female editors to male editors at the Mwananchi Communications Ltd is 1:10 which they described as far from satisfactory.
By entrusting female journalists with such senior positions as editorship, according to them, balanced decisions made can be more guaranteed than in an editorial room where menfolk are conspicuously dominant.
Phase II tour, to take place at a date to be set shortly, sources from within UTPC have disclosed, will involve women journalists from the remaining 17 Press Clubs and that they are to pay a familiarization visit to Dar es Salaam – based ITV and Radio One Stereo, own by IPP Group Companies and Mwanza’s Star TV and Radio Free Africa, owned by Sahara Communications Ltd