The Business Environmental Strengthening for Tanzania Advocacy recently provided funds to support a one-year programme on investigative journalism training at Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT). The BEST Deputy Project Manager, Ali Mjella, says a fundamental objective of the programme is inculcate knowledge and skills among local journalists to enable them to write investigative articles on business, financial and economical affairs.
“We are very optimistic that, upon completion of this training, the target population will be able to embark on pursuing quality investigative stories that benefit the public,” says the Project Manager. Recent experience has indicated that a vast majority local reporters who dwell on business reporting in Tanzania have sometimes failed to make a correctly make interpretation on matters related to business and other economic affairs.
Thus these are some of the shortcomings the envisaged training is expected to to address, says Mr Mjella. The Business Environment Strengthening for Tanzania Advocacy is a project which is aimed at enhancing the quality and effectiveness of Tanzanian private sector advocacy.
BEST -AC supports private sector organizations to help them advocate more effectively for improvements in business environment reporting. The organization is being funded by the Kingdom of Denmark, United Kingdom, Royal Kingdom of Netherlands and Kingdom of Sweden. Officials say that the business investigative training commences in July this year, and it will involve at least 30 media practioners who will be selected from different media houses all over the country.
SAUT Vice -Chancellor Dr Rev Charles Kitima assured the BEST officials that the support is of paramount importance and is a precursor toward promoting quality journalism in the country, “We woul like to assure BEST and other key partners that that SAUT administration will play a decisive role to ensure successful implementation of this project,” says Rev Kitima.
The Vice -Chancellor thinks that local media practitioners need this kind of training as, “We want to have writers who have the professional skills and capability to report, for example on economic affairs and their implications to the people and the national economy as large.It is not enough for the reporters just to tell the people the national or global economies are in tatters, but they also need to provide authentic interpretation on what is happening on the ground,” remarked Dr Kitima.
SAUT attracts students from Tanzania and elsewhere, particularly the countries of East and Central Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Malawi and Burundi. Currently, the university specializes in five professional areas of study: Journalism (both Print and Broadcasting).
Mass Communication, Accountancy, Materials Management, and Hospital Administration, leading to Bachelor’s degrees, just to mention a few. Saint Augustine University of Tanzania has a vast experience in providing journalism related trainings, “We had in the past, for example, conducted environmental journalism to the students in needy, and a significant number of beneficiaries enjoyed such kind of training,” he says.
A SAUT senior lecturer, who is also a facilitator, Nkwabi Ngw’anakilala says the Business Investigative Reporting programme will specifically target at least 30 journalists from the local print media outlets. The SAUT Head of Department of Journalism and Mass communication, Mrs Imani Duwe, is optimistic that the training would play a crucial role for the writers to raise issues of business, economic policies, laws and other pertinent issues that impact on the national economy.
“We expect that journalists and other target population will benefit a lot from this kind of training, and in the end, we think it will make a difference on how the business writers will be reporting on this area,” she says.
By Moses Mathew, Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam), 25 May 2012