President John Magufuli. PHOTO/ COURTESY
The Tanzanian government has banned all domestic licensed broadcasters from carrying foreign-made content without state permission.
The new directive is part of the revised guidelines issued by the country’s Communications Regulatory Authority.
After obtaining permission to air content from international media houses like BBC, DW and CNN, the authority details that the licensed broadcasters will take responsibility for any content deemed “unsuitable”.
“Baada ya kupata kibali cha kujiunga na mtoa huduma mwingine wa maudhui. Mwenye leseni atawajibika kwa maudhui yoyote yasiyozingatia sheria na kanuni izi,” the government said.
The new regulations further require a government official to accompany any local journalist when covering a story with a foreigner.
To further regulate the media in the country, the authority further defined watershed period as hours from 12.00am to 5am. This is the period when broadcasters can air content only suitable for adults.
The authority stated that the new regulations are aimed at l”improving content” local content.
“Kanuni hizo zimelenga kuboresha huduma za maudhui ya Redio na Televisheni pamoja na usimamiza wake kutokana na uzoefu uliopatikana kwa kipindi cha miaka miwili toka kanauni za zamani zilipoanza kutumika mwaka 2018, ” the authority added.
Failure to adhere to the regulations, the government said, licensed media houses shall be fined.
Some of the journalists working with foreign media houses termed the new regulations as punitive and aimed at restricting international media from covering the October General Elections.
President John Pombe Magufuli is seeking re-election and will be facing off with renowned opposition chief Tundu Lissu.
The Magufuli-led regime has been accused of having taken control of the local media by frustrating journalists who dare to question the government.
Magufuli has also been criticized over attempt to stifle opposition through intimidations and arrests.
“Tanzania will hold its elections in October. Under the new law, foreign correspondents cannot work with local journalist and fixers – unless a government official is with them wherever they go, ” BBC journalist Ferdinand Omondi tweeted.
He added, “The Tanzanian government has already cracked down on domestic journalists. They have been intimidated, banned, and even jailed. Now, it seems state is training guns on the foreign press, seeking total control of the content Tanzania citizens consume.”