Category Archives: Twaweza

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.

Collected reactions to Twaweza / Sauti za Wananchi opinion poll findings

Two weeks ago, my colleagues and I at Twaweza launched our latest political opinion poll for Tanzania – including the perhaps surprising headline finding that at the start of the campaign period, CCM presidential candidate, John Magufuli had a strong lead over the Chadema / Ukawa candidate, Edward Lowassa. In case anyone hasn’t seen the poll findings (where have you been?), support for Magufuli was found to be 65%, while support for Lowassa was 25%, and Magufuli had a lead across all groups – urban, rural, male, female, all ages, all education levels:

I must also remind readers that this data comes from a nationally representative sample of 1,848 respondents from all regions of mainland Tanzania. It is not a prediction of the election results: a lot can happen between the time the data was collected and election day at the end of the month. The only poll that really counts in the one that takes place on October 25th. However, my main purpose here is simply to gather together a variety of media reactions to this poll and others published around the same time (e.g. Ipsos, TADIP). Continue reading

Highlights of Remarks of Twaweza Executive Director, Aidan Eyakuze, at #OGPAfrica opening session

“The OGP is not a perfect movement or process, and it is not without its critics. For some it is a smokescreen that provides good PR for governments who have no real intention to reform. Such criticism cannot be dismissed out of hand.”

“I want to highlight what I see as the key element to the OGP’s success: partnership. It is a principle that is so deeply embedded in the OGP, it makes up one-third of its name. That is significant. Because it is as a partnership between government and civil society that the OGP will succeed, or fail.” Continue reading

Highlights of President Kikwete’s speech at the #OGPAfrica Meeting

JK OGPAfrica

President Kikwete speaking at OGP Africa meeting, 20/5/15

“Openness enables people to claim their rights, and reminds government leaders to deliver on their responsibilities”

“Civil society also needs to be transparent, so society can see and understand their work”

“We need to build understanding (Gov, CSOs) to serve citizens. We are building one house, lets not fight over bricks” Continue reading

Public Debate on Statistics and Cybercrime Acts, University of Dar es Salaam, 18/4/15

A public debate on Tanzania’s Statistics and Cybercrime Acts will be held at the University of Dar es Salaam on Saturday April 18th. It will take place in Nkrumah Hall, starting from 2pm, in Swahili. The event flyer is posted below.

The bills have attracted considerable criticism, so it should be a lively debate. The criticism includes two previous posts on this blog (here and here), two articles in the Washington Post (here and here), an article in the Citizen today by Omar Mohammed, and much more. My colleagues and I at Twaweza have also put together a more detailed analysis of the Statistics Act.  Continue reading

Four bills later: is blogging with statistics in Tanzania now only for adrenalin junkies?

Nipashe, 25/3/15 - "Media Bills" under tight security

Nipashe, 25/3/15 – “Media Bills” under tight security

By Aidan Eyakuze and Ben Taylor *

At first we were excited. Tanzanian media and freedom of information advocates had been waiting for years for the Access to Information (ATI) and Media Services Bill, and the timetable for the latest parliamentary session included both. Were things finally moving?

The timetable also had bills on Statistics and Cybercrime. Was President Kikwete trying to push through a series of new laws before his time in office comes to an end later this year? He has played a leading role on the global stage on these issues, particularly through the Open Government Partnership (OGP), so perhaps this was an attempt to enshrine open government as his legacy.

Then we were concerned. Why were the ATI and Media Bills not available on the bunge website? Why were they being rushed through under certificates of urgency, severely limiting opportunities for consultation and debate? Continue reading

Access to Information bill to be fast-tracked through Tanzanian parliament

Tz map flag FOI

UPDATE, 28/3/15:

Following concerted lobbying by a coalition of media and civil society organisations, (including my employers, Twaweza), the government has dropped plans to fast-track the Access to Information and Media Services Bills. The bills may yet be presented to parliament in the current session for first reading, but the Attorney General, George Masaju, has promised that stakeholders will be given time to read and comment on the bill. 


 

Tanzania’s long-awaited Access to Information bill – promised by President Kikwete 18 months ago and included the current Open Government action plan – may be about to become a reality, though in far from ideal circumstances.

The Tanzanian government announced late last week that six bills*, including the Access to Information Bill, will be rushed through parliament over the next two weeks, under a “certificate of urgency” (hati ya dharura). This allows all three stages of the bill to be conducted in a single session: introducing the bill to the house (first reading), debate (second reading) and a vote (third reading).  Continue reading