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Tanzania fines TV stations for airing human rights report

Tanzania fines TV stations for airing human rights report

Tanzania

<p><strong>Tanzania has fined five television stations Tsh60 million ($27,000) for “offensive and unethical” broadcasting.</strong></p> <p>The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (<span class="caps">TCRA</span>) said the broadcasters were penalised for airing ‘seditious content’.</p> <p>“The television stations are supposed to pay the fines within 30 days from today [Tuesday]. If they are dissatisfied they should appeal to the Fair Competition Commission in 30 days,” <span class="caps">TCRA</span> content committee chairman Joseph Mapunda told journalists.</p> <p>The five stations are Star TV which was fined Tsh7.5 million ($3,375), Azam Two (Tsh7.5 million, $3,375), East Africa TV (Tsh15 million, $6,750), Channel 10 (Tsh15 million, $6,750) and <span class="caps">ITV</span> (Tsh15 million, $6,750).</p> <p>Mapunda said the stations aired a Legal Human Rights Centre (<span class="caps">LHRC</span>) evaluation of November 26, 2017 ward by-election which was offensive, unethical, unlawful.</p> <p>He said by broadcasting the seditious news, peace was threatened and public safety jeopardised.</p> <p>Mapunda said the civil society organisation <span class="caps">LHRC</span> evaluation claimed that during the by-election peace was breached, human rights violated, security organs abused their power, innocent citizens were abducted by unknown people, and that voters were threatened.</p> <p>He said the evaluation also portended violence in the coming civic by-elections and that after going through all five television stations’ content that was aired on ward by-elections, the committee was convinced that they committed offences.</p> <p>“The television stations were supposed to check with the National Electoral Commission instead of airing such information without confirming the other side,” he said. </p> <p>Responding to the announcement of the fine, Tanzanians expressed their disappointment, describing it as early signs of intolerance and dictatorship.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">What’s wrong with these African leaders ???</p>— ?FĒÀRLÈssJournålist (@MuformuFour) <a href="https://twitter.com/MuformuFour/status/948149119360602113?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 2, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Dictator at his best</p>— Ndodo Hassan (@barack_hassan) <a href="https://twitter.com/barack_hassan/status/948430499453767680?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 3, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="in" dir="ltr">…and here it goes again, itafika wakati watasema hakuna kuonesha wazungu kwenye TV. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/freedomofpress?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#freedomofpress</a></p>— Evance Muhenga (@evans_finance) <a href="https://twitter.com/evans_finance/status/948184198803750913?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 2, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><span class="caps">LHRC</span> has since appealed to to international human rights groups to intervene in what they describe as suppression of freedom of expression.</p> <p>They have also indicated that they will seek a court interpretation of the term ‘seditious content’.</p>

The television stations were supposed to check with the National Electoral Commission instead of airing such information without confirming the other side

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