Broadcasters online slapped with TCRA fines, suspension 

28Sep 2019
Henry Mwangonde
The Guardian
Broadcasters online slapped with TCRA fines, suspension 

THE Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) yesterday suspended one critical online television station for six months and ordered two others to pay 5m/- each for violating the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, 2018.

The regulator through its content committee banned Kwanza online television for six months for airing a story that is said to be sensational and aimed at misleading the public, and fined Ayo and Watetezi Television 5m/- each for not posting their online content policy on their channel.

“The regulations require license holders to streamline contents to abide to online broadcasting laws as well as journalism ethics which Kwanza television went against,” said the committee chairman, Joseph Mapunda.

In the decision, the committee said Kwanza Television aired a story with the headline ‘Dr Gwajima apata ajali’ in which they were referring to the Deputy Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of State and Local Government- responsible for Health, Dr Dorothy Gwajima but never mentioned her first name in the whole story.

According to the committee, the story was misleading in the sense that Gwajima is a well known name in Tanzania and hence, by not mentioning the first name, the reader could easily refer to Bishop Josephat Gwajima as the accident person, which was not the case.

In their defense when summoned by the committee, Mapunda said Kwanza online television officials denied to have violated any law saying the story was qualified for broadcasting.

For Ayo and Watetezi television channels, the committee said the two online platforms since their establishment have never posted their online content policy, hence violating the Electronic and Postal Communication (EPOCA) law and its regulations.

The committee also said upon summoning the owners of Ayo Television and Watetezi TV they denied violating any law saying their television outlets operate through Yuotube which provides readymade regulations for a user.

Apart from the fines the two online platforms have been warned to ensure that they post the content policy as stipulated in the regulations.