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Dr. Peter Onauphoo Siyao has set a record to be the first PhD graduate at the Department of Information and Records Studies (DIRS) after his successful PhD public defence on 15 April 2021. Dr. Siyao (BA Hons, MA- LIS UDSM & PhD SUA) is an Academic Librarian at Mzumbe University since 2006. He registered for PhD programme at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in the Department of Information and Records Studies of Sokoine National Agricultural Library in December 2015.

Thesis Title: Role of newspapers in the dissemination of climate change information in Tanzania

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Dr. Peter Siyao during his public defence

Dr. Siyao discovered a low contribution of newspapers in the dissemination of climate change information in Tanzania, despite the media having a high ability in providing detailed developmental information such as climate change issues to the community for awareness creation. During the period of study, Dr. Siyao managed to publish four research articles in peer-reviewed and internationally recognized journals. The first article analysed the level of attention given to climate change information by Tanzanian newspapers. It was found that little was reported on climate change issues in comparison with other topics such as politics, sensational issues, crimes and advertisements. The second article focused on the priority given to climate change information by the local Tanzanian newspapers which turned out to be very low.

The third published article assessed the sources of climate change information used by newspaper journalists in Tanzania. In this article, it was found that 64 per cent of climate change experts and 34.1 per cent of daily events such as community meetings and other social gatherings were the main sources of climate change information consulted by newspaper journalists in Tanzania. These sources are interactive – enabling journalists to obtain climate change information – and easily accessible, and use and provide instant responses. It was also reported that newspapers encounter a number of challenges in acquiring climate change information in Tanzania. The fourth article assessed the use of newspapers by peri-urban newspaper readers in accessing climate change information.  The findings show that newspapers (65%) are important sources used by peri-urban newspaper readers to access climate change information.

Dr. Siyao successfully defended his PhD thesis in the viva voce held on 15 April 2021 after A panel of five scholars was satisfied with his work. Dr. Siyao was supervised by Prof. Alfred Sife who is currently a Vice-Chancellor at Moshi Cooperative University (MoCU) and assisted by  Dr. Wulstan Mtega.

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Dr. Siyao celebrating his success with his wife Victoria Siyao and Son Brian Siyao