Tag Archives: democracy

A step backwards on the road to democracy

"In order that a paper is not closed down. Obama: we envy Tanzania's economy. Mafia declines aid. Tanzania supports Japan."

“To avoid closure, papers should write like this. Obama: we envy Tanzania’s economy. Mafia declines aid, they have no problems. Tanzania supports Japan.” From Mwananchi, October 2010.

Tanzania trades on its reputation as an “island of peace,” (relatively) well governed, (relatively) democratic, and (relatively) peaceful. It is getting harder and harder to justify that reputation.

On Saturday, two of Tanzania’s leading newspapers – Mwananchi and Mtanzania – were suspended from publication by the government (unofficial English translation), Mwananchi for 14 days and Mtanzania for 90.

Freedom of the press is a fundamental pillar of democracy, a cornerstone of good governance and accountability. Any restrictions on that freedom – which can in some cases be justified – should be handled with extreme caution and used only in the most extreme circumstances. These are not those circumstances. Continue reading

Presentation: The Media and Democracy in Tanzania

This is a copy of the presentation I made yesterday at a public seminar organised by the Britain-Tanzania Society (BTS) and the Centre for African Studies at SOAS.

The Media and Democracy in Tanzania on Prezi

H/T to Pernille for introducing me to the wonder that is prezi.com. And thanks to Andrew Coulson of BTS for arranging the event and inviting me to present, and to Freddy Macha for his insightful comments, bringing a very valuable historical and cultural perspective to the discussion.

The power of “we”

BAD 2012Today is Blog Action Day, and this year’s theme is the power of “we”. So I thought I would throw a few observations out there.

About how Jimmy Savile got away with his abuses for so long, at least in part by denying his victims the power of “we”. They were isolated individuals, lacking the confidence that they would be taken seriously if they spoke up. Now, when the first accusations came out, the trickle quickly became a flood, with each person speaking out giving more and more confidence to other victims, making it easier for them to do the same. This is what can happen when people are denied the power of “we”. Continue reading