New hope for media as Tanzania government pledges changes

Tuesday June 01 2021

The minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Innocent Bashungwa (left), presents his ministry’s budget estimates for the 2021/22 financial year in Parliament in Dodoma yesterday. Photo | Edwin Mjwahuzi

By Louis Kalumbia

Dar es Salaam. The government is undertaking a raft of measures during the coming financial year in a deliberate move to relieve media stakeholders of the challenges that they have been going through in the past.
The initiatives include reviewing different regulations  for overseeing the broadcasting sector in order to improve the provision of its services.
Tabling the Sh54.742 billion revenue and expenditure budget for the 2021/22 Fiscal Year in the Parliament yesterday, Information, Culture, Arts and Sports minister Innocent Bashungwa said 13 arguments highlighted as challenges by the media stakeholders will be worked on.
 “They include enabling artists, innovators and dealers of online news and current affairs to strengthen dissemination of content and broadcasting artistic works free of charge provided that they abide by provisions of the laws,” he said.
Others are to strengthen the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority’s (TCRA) structure to efficiently and effectively oversee broadcasting issues and reduce charges imposed on online television owners and other service providers.
Severe punishment to radio and television stations through the TCRA Content Committee, treating religious media organisations as commercial broadcasters and delaying permission to players aiming to improve licences were the other issues, according to him.
“Improving  artists’ safety of online accounts with many followers against hackers, finalising the systems that will provide artists with radio and television rights and the possibility of introducing use of one decoder by television service providers will also be worked on,” he said.
He said the government through the Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation (TTCL) is also finalising an electronic online platform for artists’ registration and distribution of their works.
“The system is expected to ease collection of royalties and benefit more artists, the national economy and create more jobs for the youth,” he said.
The Sh54.742 billion requested for the 2021/22 Fiscal Year is Sh13.96 billion more as compared to Sh40 billion approved for 2020/21 Financial Year, which is equivalent to 34.23 percent rise.
The Sh20.715 billion allocated for development projects is 157.17 percent higher than Sh8.055 billion passed in the 2020/21 Fiscal Year for development projects.
The distribution of Sh20.715 billion for the execution of development projects shows that Sh10.5 billion is allocated for construction of a citizen’s recreation centre; Sh5 billion for increasing sensitivity of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) and Sh1.5 billion for the Tanzania Culture and Arts Fund.
He said the $267,992.60 project to construct the Julius Nyerere Monument at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, implemented by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) is supervised by a manager from the ministry.