Zanzibar has banned the importation of analogue electronic media equipment as part of the run-up to migration to digital technology by December this year.
Overseeing preparations towards the adoption of digital technology are Zanzibar Broadcasting Commission in collaboration with the Isles’ Trade, Industry and Marketing ministry.
ZBC Executive Secretary Chande Omar made remarks to that effect when speaking to Zanzibar First Vice President Seif Shariff Hamad, who toured the state-run broadcaster’s offices yesterday.
Omar said what was going on was crucial “taking into account that East and Central African countries are all preparing to abandon analogue technology by December this year, and it is therefore important for us to impose restrictions on the importation and use of analogue equipment”.
He said the restriction was expected to drastically reduce the accumulation of analogue equipment, including televisions and various other appliances, once digital technology was increasingly adopted.
The ZBC executive said a study they had conducted showed that although the deadline for using such equipment was approaching, “analogue equipment have been imported in such large numbers that the situation is leading to rising levels of environmental pollution”.
He however said the most daunting challenge was how to talk the public into adopting the new technology “taking into account that the new system requires the use of decoders many ordinary people could find too expensive”.
Among other things, ZBC has the responsibility of providing licences and allocating broadcasting waves to radio and television stations in the Isles.
Omar explained that a total of 23 radio stations have been provided with licences alongside seven television stations. They are in both public and private categories.
Hamad meanwhile said there was greed need of providing civic education to the people “in order to make the migration plan run successfully”.
He added that it was high time members of the business community were adequately sensitised on the need to beat the deadline for change-over “so that they can start shifting by giving priority to the importation of digital equipment”.
The Zanzibar VP also toured Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation’s radio and TV stations, the government-owned Newspaper Corporation and the journalism college at Vuga.
He described the media as crucial agents in the speeding up of social development and in implementing the national strategy for economic growth and poverty reduction.
Last month Communication, Science and Technology minister Prof Makame Mbarawa said Tanzania would reach a wavelength of over 600 megahertz if digital technology were applied, unlike now when most people are still using analogue technology.
He noted that there was every possibility of the use of digital technology boosting the national economy appreciably, adding that there would be a rise in tax collections and a reduction in communication expenses.
The minister called upon members of the public to be ready for the adoption of digital technology, pointing out that information and communication technologies were growing rapidly and acted as a catalyst for the development of social and economic development.