The Media Council of Tanzania is now worrying over the advent of Artificial Intelligence.
However, the MCT is not concerned about the clever robotic programs taking up journalists and photographers jobs, which is also bothering, but rather the possibility of hoodlums using AI in distorting or falsifying images as well as churning out genuine looking fake videos.
The advent of AI, according to the MCT report, can set stage for a new era of extremely believable false news, backed with videos, images and holograms, that some goons may distribute as genuine media content to hoodwink gullible people.
The Concern was expressed in Arusha by the outgoing Executive Secretary of the Media Council in Tanzania (MCT) Kajubi D. Mukajanga, during the occasion to mark the ‘International Day for Universal Access to Information,’ at national level.
Presenting the MCT report, Mukajanga pointed out that it will be difficult for ordinary people to distinguish the truth from lies once Artificial Intelligence programs start producing genuinely looking reports, videos and images and even mimicking people’s voices.
“Though the theme for this year’s International Day for Universal Access to Information addresses the ‘Importance of Online Space for Access to Information,’ the AI can on the other hand manipulate digital media to create falsified news or frame individuals,” Mukajanga maintained.
As observed in other parts of the world, Artificial Intelligence can easily be deployed to manipulate images, sound and videos as well as creating false reports and fabricated events.
The International Day for Universal Access to Information 2023, went in sync with the MCT Annual General Meeting, taking place in Arusha for two days.
During the council meetings held at the African Court for Human and People’s Rights, MCT members get to discuss, among other things, the current situation of the media industry in Tanzania.
Presenting the annual Media Council Report, the former MCT Executive Secretary stated that journalists in Tanzania still face cumbersome stumbling blocks in their quest to seek information from public offices, communication officers, heads of institutions and political leaders.
The MCT however lauded the Zanzibar President, Dr Hussein Mwinyi for organizing periodical meetings with members of the press at the Isles’ State House.
But the media council is not happy with the Electronic and Postal Communications Act on online content as well as the Cybercrime Act all of which inhibit the freedom of expression in Tanzania.
In Tanzania, people are forced to pay 500,000/- in order to run social media platforms such as YouTube accounts, Blogs and Websites.
On her part, Shufaa Hassan MCT representative from Zanzibar said it was important for media personnel to hold regular meetings to address problems affecting their profession.
The Media Council of Tanzania Statement points out that, the journalists in Tanzania still operate under hostile environments, many facing threats and in fact the media often get warned not to run some type of stories.
The MCT Report reminds of the recent DP World port contract saga in which discussions about the subject have been restricted.
Some of the journalists who expressed concern regarding the situation of the media in the country include Jabil Idrisa, Nassor Haji Mohammed and Khadija Yussuf.