Tanzania communication regulator cracks the whip on radio stations

Friday August 14 2020

 

By Louis Kolumbia @Collouis1999 lkolumbia@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The Ethics committee of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has on Friday, August 14, banned radio programme ‘Jahazi’ aired by Clouds FM Radio with immediate effect.

The committee has ordered Wasafi Media Online TV to pay Sh5 million fine for airing a programme that encourages immorality in the general public.

Other four radio stations were issued a stern warning and have been put under observation after broadcasting imbalanced information from partner broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

The committee’s vice chairman Joseph Mapunda told journalists that Jahazi has been banned for airing information that encourages the public to masturbate.

Mr Mapunda said the programmes were aired on June 26, 2020 between 4pm to 6pm, noting that broadcasters mobilized collection of sperms in order to raise children through artificial insemination.

He said the Clouds FM Radio through Jahazi committed the offence without regarding interests of the public particularly children and the youth, hence contravening Regulation 11 (1)(c), 12(1)(a)(d) and 14(a)(b)(c) of the Electronic and Postal Communications Act (Epoca).

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“Considering defense by the officials of the station including their decision to suspend programme presenter and producer, the committee has banned ‘Jahazi’ effective from today in accordance to Section 28(1)(b)(d) of the TCRA Act Cap 172 as revised in 2017,” he said, adding.

He added: The station management shouldn’t replace the programme with any other with similar content following this decision.

He said Wasafi Media Online TV on the other hand  published a programme on its YouTube channel titled: Women matters, whose content and presentation encourages sexual incidents in the public contrary to Epoca Regulations 7 (1)(a)(b) as well as 12 (a) and (k).

He said the online television also published information on its Youtube channel that campaigned for some individuals who expressed interest seeking parliamentary seat and councillorship nomination through a certain political party.

“Our assessment and considering submitted evidence the second charge couldn’t be justified, therefore it has been dropped,” he said, adding.

“But, Wasafi Media Online TV has been found guilty for publishing sexual charged content contrary to regulations. They are therefore given stern warning and ordered to pay Sh5 million fine.”

In another development, Radio Free Africa, Radio One Stereo, Abood FM Radio and CG FM stations have been served with stern warning and put under observation for broadcasting unbalanced information.

Announcing the decision, Mr Mapunda said on July 29, in their morning programme ‘Amka na BBC’, the four radios broadcasted unbalanced content from their partner BBC.

The content carried an interview with Chadema vice chairman Tundu Lissue who blamed the government for denying leaders of the opposition opportunity to pay last respects to former President Benjamin Mkapa at Uhuru Stadium.

He said the content had no voice of the government’s spokesperson and that no efforts were made to ensure the content was balanced despite knowing that laws, regulations and ethics demanded for balancing.