Dear Chambi: don’t stop blogging, your voice is needed

from Nipashe, Dec 1, 2016

Dear Chambi,

I hope you don’t mind me writing you a public letter like this. But it feels like the most appropriate way of saying what I want to say.

Because your decision to stop blogging has left me dejected. While I don’t always agree with what you say (I usually do), yours has been one of very few voices asking important but difficult questions. Those who find #UhuruWaKujieleza (freedom of speech) to be an annoyance (or, if we are charitable, an unaffordable luxury,) will be celebrating. We are all worse off as a result. Continue reading

dot-com, dot-org or dot-tz? What does Tanzanian law say?

Maxence Melo charge sheet #3

The recent arrest of digital media entrepreneur Maxence Melo of JamiiForums.com raises serious questions and concerns about freedom of speech, but one relatively minor aspect of the case has potentially serious implications for a lot of people.

Among the charges laid against Melo was “management of a domain not registered in Tanzania.” This took observers by surprise; even many close followers of media and technology issues in Tanzania were unaware that it is now apparently illegal to operate a website that does not use a dot-tz domain. The relevant laws have actually been in place since 2011, however, and the government posted a notice in the press last year calling on people to adhere to it.

But since it has now come to wider attention, it’s worth asking some questions. In particular, what exactly does the law say? And more pertinently, should you be concerned if you manage a domain other than something.tz? *

Continue reading

Puzzles in Swahili – my new blog: Kitendawili? Tega!

sayari ya maneno – from kitendawili.mtega.com

I have a new blog – Kitendawili? Tega!

I’m a big fan of puzzles – crosswords, riddles, mathematical puzzles, mind-games and more. I need to sharpen my writing skills in Swahili. And I think there might just be an audience in East Africa for puzzles in Swahili. So the new blog is dedicated to exactly that: sharing (and occasionally creating) puzzles in Swahili.

There are four puzzles there to get things started, and more will be added every couple of weeks.

The first two should be solvable with a little effort, the third is more of a challenge, but the last is a doddle: Continue reading

People-powered maps to help girls escape FGM – how to get involved

Filling in the blank spaces …

Can you help girls in Tanzania escape Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) without ever leaving the comfort of your home? Well, there’s a project that some friends of mine are supporting that claims to do exactly that.

If you’re in London next Monday (January 16), there will be a seminar at 5pm at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where this and two related mapping projects in Tanzania will be the topic. But whether or not you can make it to the seminar, the beauty of this project is that you can contribute from almost anywhere.  Continue reading

Two opportunities for data journalists in Tanzania: a prize and funding

Data journalism is a growing field in Tanzania, but one that hasn’t yet taken off very strongly. But here are two opportunities for data journalists in Tanzania that could help get things moving. Both look very interesting.

ejatData journalism prize in EJAT

For the first time, a data journalism category has been included in the Excellence in Journalism Awards Tanzania (EJAT), run by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT)*. The MCT website seems to be a little behind on the announcement, but it was issued a few days ago and the site does at least have the entry forms available.

So if you are a  journalist or blogger who has done interesting work with data (on any topic) in the Tanzanian media during 2016, now is your chance.

The deadline for entries is January 31st, 2017.

innovateAFRICA: potential funding

innovate Africa logoAnd if you’re looking for more than just recognition, there’s up to USD $100,000 available for media projects working with data. The innovateAfrica initiative, run by Code for Africa, is looking for “disruptive digital ideas to improve the way that news is collected and disseminated:”

“By digital ideas, we mean tools or strategies that use the Internet, mobile platforms, data-driven journalism, computer-assisted reporting, digitally augmented reality or virtual reality, camera drones or the Internet of Things (sensors), and other electronic means to improve the relevance and impact of news media.”

The deadline for initial applications is December 1st, so you will need to get a move on, but the first stage in the application process is very straightforward, with just 8 simple questions to be answered. Full details, terms and conditions, etc., and the online application form are available here.


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* Twaweza, for whom I work, has encouraged MCT to include this new award in EJAT.

Mwangosi verdict leaves a lot of questions, and a bitter taste

Mwangosi

A court in Iringa today sentenced police officer Pacifius Simon to 15 years imprisonment for the manslaughter of journalist Daud Mwangosi in September 2012. In one sense, this brings the case to a close. But it is a very unsatisfactory ending. Continue reading

Corruption and freedom – is there a correlation?

corruption and freedomThe charts I have shared recently – last week on the Corruption Perceptions Index and this week on the Freedom House Freedom Rating – got me thinking: is there a correlation between corruption and freedom?

The chart below looks at data for each country in Africa that appears on both the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Freedom House Ratings. Each circle represents a country. Those further to the left are the countries with more perceived corruption, those to the right have less. The countries that are higher up on the chart have more freedom, lower have less freedom. Continue reading