Home > All Stories > Profession’s rape amid Kilimo Kwanza

Profession’s rape amid Kilimo Kwanza

By Daniel Mbega, Mbeya

“LOOK! I have been telling you guys everyday to come early so that I could give you money. You are late and I have no money left on me. Your fellow journalists from …., …., and …. have just left and I gave them the lot. Now come back another time!”
This was the remark I got from the Managing Director of one of the giant seed company in the Southern Highlands once I introduced myself that I am a journalist when I visited their shed at the John Mwakangale Grounds during Farmers’ Day (Nane Nane) peak this week.

The old man, in his early 60s, was adamant even to listen what exactly brought me there as he set on his revolving chair trying to be serious as he could, saying that he wasn’t in a position to listen to me because he had no money left to give me after our interview.
This statement irritated me a lot and made me think what kind of money was he giving journalists and for what purposes.
“Well, I don’t need your money, instead I am doing some research in agricultural development as far as Kilimo Kwanza is concerned. As one of stakeholders in agriculture, I thought it was wise that you could give me some information on the challenges and the success of your career,” I told him.
I added: “I would also like to visit your company and see how you process these seeds.”
This helped to calm him down and gave me an appointment which is still to come.
My curiosity didn’t end there, because once I left the guy, I started asking some fellow journalists in this city. Most of those asked looked me like a funny creature from planet Mars, saying that “you can’t lick an empty hand”.
“As a senior journalist, I’m sure you are aware that most media houses in Tanzania are underpaying their reporters, especially regional reporters like us. We are being paid as per story that is published, it’s just a peanut not more than TShs. 3,000 per story without considering time spent and the costs we incur, and the payments doesn’t come on time. In this situation how do you think should the reporter resist this temptation?” a journalist asks.
Another journalist told me that this was the tendency of most of stakeholders to rob journalists so that their business could be covered in the media.
“Some companies or stakeholders have assigned a certain group of journalists who are in their payroll to cover their activities. It is a SHAME, but on the other hand, and in most incidents, journalists are the one who ask for money, as they told you that they can’t report without being paid,” one of the journalists told me.
Another stakeholder said that, due to the current situation as far Kilimo Kwanza slogan is concerned, many companies are scrambling for media coverage and they are using a lot of money to pay journalists so that they get positive coverage.
“Without media coverage you can’t go anywhere. Yes, we know that they (journalists) ought to be paid by their media houses, but if you call a press conference without providing them with the ‘brown envelope’ you won’t get coverage at all, or else you get negative response,” another stakeholder says.
Well, now, this is how the Kilimo Kwanza slogan has raped our profession in pursuit of good and positive coverage.

Reach me through: mbega.daniel@gmail.com, or +255 715 070109

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