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University of Dar es Salaam School of Journalism and Mass Communication Post Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication

LW 540 Media Law Course Instructor: Mr Damas Ndumbaro Question: Discuss the changes of media and media laws in Tanzania after 1990s.

Student: Paul E. Mdumi

Seminar Paper Dated: January, 2012.

Introduction and Background.

It worth noting at the outset, that The Bill of Rights, introduced into the Tanzania Constitution in 1984, (which I think was fertile ground to the above mentioned activism) included the right to freedom of expression. Article 18 reads as follows: Without jeopardizing the laws of the country, everyone is free to express any opinion, to offer his views, and to search for, to receive and to give information and any ideas through any medium without consideration to country boundaries and is also free to engage in personal communication without interference.

Following years of draconian laws governing access to information and Media practice in Tanzania, media stakeholders started demanding for the review of media laws and policies that regulate the media industry in Tanzania beginning 1990s. With the liberalization of the economy and politics in the 1990s, Tanzania witnessed a tremendous growth of both private and public media. According to Professor Issa Shivji, one of the most important fruits of opening up in the early 1990s was the birth of a free press. At that time, the free press meant free from the state since until then the press was monopolized by the state. But at the time, the free press was also the small press run by very courageous journalists.(Shivji, May 2007)

The immediate development in the Media changes the introduction of Tanzania Broadcasting Services Act of 1993, which was automatically adopted after the introduction of multi-partyism in 1992.This Act was meant to open the airwaves for all. Unfortunately, the law is very restrictive as to who shall have the right to operate the radio or TV station, and coverage with restrictions to 25 percent of the whole territory. The law also confers extraordinary powers to the minister responsible for information. Perhaps the most profound change was in the electronic media. With the opening of the airwaves, the monopoly of the state-owned Radio Tanzania came to an end and new privately owned radio stations were established. To-date, apart from Radio Tanzania which is part of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), there are a number of major radio stations, including Radio One and Radio Free Africa and about 20 FM stations.

The Tanzania Broadcasting Services Act of 1993, similar to all earlier media laws, include clauses which violate on people's rights to freedom of expression guaranteed by article 18 of the Constitution. Supposedly, freedom of expression guarantees two basic rights: the right to express and disseminate opinions in any form, and the right to freely receive information from any source without restriction. The Bill of Rights provides that each and every person has the right to freely express their opinion, search for and receive information and any ideas through any medium irrespective of its origin.

TCRA Is a statutory body established by Act No.12 of 2003, after merger of the Tanzania Broadcasting Commission and the Tanzania communications Commissions. Its includes regulating the postal, broadcasting and electronic communications sectors, particularly through the management of the radio frequency spectrum; licensing and enforcing licensing conditions of

broadcasting, postal and telecommunications operators; regulating rates and services and monitoring the implementation of ICT applications. The regulations also provide guidance as regards to use of language (S 15); explicitness (S 16); violence (S 18); discrimination based on race, ethnicity, origin, colour, religion, and gender, mental or physical disability (S 20) and percentage of local content against foreign content (S 27). With due respect, the regulations provide a fair balance on reportage in broadcasting stations. The major criticism leveled has been of course the ambiguity prevailing in phrases such like national interest, national economic interest, national values and national points of views which are not elaborated anyway in the Act and can be open to explanation of all sorts.

Secondly, media stakeholders have always been jittery of the Content Committee as regards issues of professional ethics in view of the belief that this could be best handled by media professional regulatory bodies such as the Media Council of Tanzania(Kajubi Mukanjanga and Pili Mtambalike, 2007).

With many restrictions on the laws, it is suffice to say there is no "free freedom". Tanzania imposes restrictions on information that reach the population. In the Constitution, therefore, the Bill of Rights has been subjected to existing laws of the country. Scholars of jurisprudence and lawyers argue that this is an anomaly since the Constitution is the basic law of the land, and can't be made subject to any subordinate law(Berger, 2007)

Challenges faced the evolution of Media in Tanzania Despite these tremendous changes, there had been a big challenge in the media industry in Tanzania. First and for-most challenge was inadequate of journalism training schools and colleges. Until 1988, there were only two school of journalism in the country, one being Tanzania School of Journalism (TSJ) and the second was Nyegezi Social Training Institute (NSTI) in Mwanza Region. Though the integration of TSJ into University of Dar Es Salaam fueled a professional growth in the journalism profession.

With few trained journalists who worked both in public and private media houses, Media houses recruited untrained personnel and ultimately the quality of the products were compromised and the professional ethics have been continuously been flaunted, prompting the government in 1995 to attempt putting into place a media regulation body with powers to shut down newspapers violating ethics and to license journalists. Media Council of Tanzania was a response to this attempt as a self regulatory body of the media after rejection of the government above attempt(Kajubi Mukanjanga and Pili Mtambalike, 2007).

The case of bad laws enacted to regulate other sectors which interfere media practices is another major challenge of media development in Tanzania.

CONCLUSIVE REMARKS: The above discussion depicts the general overview of the changes of the media and Media Law in Tanzania after 1990s.The unfolded changes brought a light of the freedom of press in terms of the shift of ownership namely from public only own media houses to private ownership media houses.

In spite of the major development in media in Tanzania there are bad laws in other sectors which interferes the freedom of press in one way or the other. Laws such as National Security Act 1970 have sections which restrict freedom of information. Such laws pull back the move towards freedom of speech. In a nutshell, although there are problems and restrictions on the freedom of press, much has been done over the last decade in media and media laws in Tanzania.

Works Cited
Berger, G. ( 2007, September). Media Legislation in Africa. Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Kajubi Mukanjanga and Pili Mtambalike. (2007). State of the media. Media Council of Tanzania. Dar Es Salaam: MCT. Shivji, I. (May 2007). For Reflection on Our tenth Anniversary. Media Watch .