16 February 2013

Tanzania: Bunge Comes Clean On Live Broadcast Ban

THE Clerk of the Tanzania National Assembly, Dr Thomas Kashililah, has clarified on the reported proposal to ban live broadcasts of House proceedings, a move that was bitterly condemned by many.

A statement signed by Dr Kashililah on Firday said that they have not proposed to ban live coverage but instead will not allow television and radio stations to pitch camp and install equipment inside Parliament premises.

He noted that all who want to transmit live House proceedings will have to get clear feed from Parliament which will allow them to go on air live. This will mean that all independent stations will have to make do with what Parliament will feed them to air proceedings live.

Dr Kashililah also said that his office is engaged in the implementation of a comprehensive information delivery scheme to reach all at their respective capacities. "Through improved communication technology, we (parliament) have started airing live video stripping through the parliament website and full debate in parliament is accessible to all," reads part of the statement.

"As for those capable to capture radio trans- mission, they can link up with the Bunge Radio scheduled for inauguration shortly with nationwide coverage in addition to reporting aired by TBC 1, BBC, STAR etc," the statement further said.

He stressed that the current arrangement will continue and all TV stations permitted to air the proceedings live will do so without restrictions. "This is part of the agreement between Bunge and the Tanzania Communication and Regulatory Authority (TCRA)," he said.

He also said that the House would come up with a Code of Conduct for Media Broadcasting to be observed by all broadcasters to ensure that the public follow Bunge proceedings and views that are nonpartisan.

Meanwhile, JIMMY LWANGILI reports that the Tanzania Editors' Forum (TEF) has become the latest voice disagreeing with the proposal to ban live broadcasts of House proceedings. The editors called on the National Assembly to revisit the position, saying that it would affect the growth of democracy in the country.

Addressing journalists in Dar es Salaam , the Chairman of TEF, Mr Absalom Kibanda, said that implementation of the plan would hinder assessment of people's representatives in the parliament. "TEF believes that broad- casting work is not supposed to be supervised by the parliament," he said.

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