FIVE television stations have been ordered to pay a fine of over 60m/- in total for violating regulations governing broadcasting service.
The implicated stations include Channel Ten, East Africa Television (EATV) and Independent Television (ITV), who have to pay 15m/- fine each after denying charges levelled against them, including public inciting.
As for Star Television and Azam Two, both agreed to the charges levelled against them and were each fined a total 7. 5m/- for the same. Reading out the judgments, the Deputy Chairman of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority's Content Committee, Mr Joseph Mapunda said they arrived at such a decision after going through their defence which was filed by the respective managements.
He pointed further that the media outlets violated the regulations through their news bulletin reportage on the just ended Ward Councillorship By-elections report released by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) on November 30, last year.
"For this matter, all the media outlets will be under TCRA's scrutiny for a period not exceeding six months with immediate effect. However, room for appeal should be extended to the Fair Competition Commission (FCC) for those who wish to do so. The Deputy Chairman also disclosed that the media outlets could not abide by journalism professional codes of conduct by reporting factual and accurate information as released by LHRC.
In that case, Mr Mapunda said the television stations were responsible for human rights violations as per the Broadcasting Services Regulations of 2005 specifically on the content. He, however, noted that airing out programmes which could in turn disrupt the security and peace of the country is also contrary to Section 5 (a) and h of the broadcasting regulation. He said not abiding by journalism codes of conduct, including reporting a well-balanced story, it is not agreeable as highlighted in Section 6 (2) b, c and (3) of the regulation.
Mr Mapunda observed that the aim of fining the media outlets was not to punish the offenders, but that TCRA would like to see that all media houses in the country observe content regulations when airing their programmes.