The Content Committee of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) should review and lift the suspension on Kawanza Online TV.
Local reports say on July 2, the contents committee of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, a department within the country’s broadcast regulator, sent a letter to Kwanza Online TV, an independent local broadcaster, requesting its management to appear before the regulator and provide a written submission the following day.
According to the summon by the regulator, the Kwanza Online TV’s Instagram account featured a post that was unpatriotic and could negatively affect the security, unity, and economy of the country.
“On July 6, 2020 TCRA’s Content Committee Vice-Chairperson Joseph Mapunda, told journalists that on July 1, 2020, Kwanza online TV on its social media platform, published an unbalanced story on the state of Covid-19 in the country, Mr Mapunda said the content was designed to cause panic and thus affect the country’s economy by slowing down various businesses, including posing a threat to tourists” says local report.
However, in a public statement, the broadcaster said it is not guilty of the offense as alleged by the content committee, and said its right to be heard was not adhered to.
“Kwanza Broadcasting Ltd has received with disbelief the decision of the Content Committee to suspend Kwanza Online TV for 11 months. This comes on the heels of a suspension of six months in September that we have appealed and is still in court. We would like to emphasize that Kwanza TV is NOT guilty of any offence. Republishing an already published public notice cannot be and in itself andm offence”, the statement reads.
Furthermore, the broadcaster (Kwanza Online Tv) said it is intending to appeal the 11-months suspension issued by the Tanzania Communications ReguTCRA) Content Committee, as its right to be heard was not adhered to.
“To be clear our right to be heard was not adhered to as we were given less than 24 hours to respond to the initial summon. We would like to emphasize that Kwanza TV is not guilty of any offense,” reads the statement.
Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) condemns the suspension of Kwanza Online TV, and we are calling on the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority’s (TCRA) to exhibit professionalism at all times in the discharge of its duties, and shun every act of press freedom violation.
We call on the TCRA to lift all suspensions against the broadcaster and create an environment for independent media in the country to carry out their professional duties without fear or favour.