Whistleblower: The Story of Maxence Melo and JamiiForums
JamiiForums is a Tanzanian-based website that promotes the exchange of ideas and government transparency. The website, along with its co-founder Maxenxe Melo (Max), has come under intense scrutiny and harassment from the Tanzania government. This podcast covers Max's journey from an orphan in rural Tanzania to one of the country's most influential citizens.
On April 8, 2020, Max was found guilty in one of his two remaining cases. Luckily he will avoid jail time, but the decision was a blow to the prospect of freedom of expression in Tanzania. In this episode, we wrap up our covering of Max and Jamii's story and try to give some perspective to the fight that they are engaged in.
These are the other individuals I mentioned in the episode: Pinchas Tobor Rosenbaum; Mark Bingham; Sir Nicholas Winton; Captain Mbaye Diagne; Rick Rescorla; Robert Smalls; Iqbal Masih; Dr. David Nott; John R. Fox; Irena Sendler; Muelmar Magallanes
In the past five years, the Tanzanian government has imposed increasingly restrictive laws and regulations on the media and online speech. In this episode, we dive into these different laws and regulations to show what they restrict, how they are being enforced, and the overall effect they are having on free speech in Tanzania.
Max was motivated to create JamiiForums when he saw corrupt dealings while working as an engineer on the Bank of Tanzania Twin Towers. In this episode we detail Tanzania's struggle with corruption, from the influence of colonization to current trends. Corruption has cost Tanzania greatly for the past half-century, but the team at JamiiForums remains committed to transparency and accountability despite emerging threats.
On November 22, 2019, Max was presented with the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists. This is special episode to recognize Max for this incredible achievement and provide our listeners with his speech at the award reception.
In this episode we go through the main story that the podcast focuses on. We start with Max and what lead him to create JamiiForums. Then we discuss JamiiForums and the roles it has had in Tanzania politics. Finally, we go through the backlash that Max and JamiiForums have faced from the government as the continue exposing corruption.
Thank you for checking out the podcast! This episode is an introduction to Maxence Melo and JamiiForums. Max is one of the creators of JamiiForums, a social media website in Tanzania most widely known for exposing certain corruption scandals. I got the pleasure of meeting Max a couple years ago and hearing his story, and now I would like to share it with you.