Tanzania: Govt to TCRA - Rules Key for Pay-TV Operators

Dar es Salaam — Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, has directed the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to come up with guidelines that will enable Pay-TV operators to discharge their duties efficiently.

The minister issued the directive in the wake of a recent government decision to bar some Pay-TV operators from airing Free-To-Air (FTA) channels from their packs.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday August 14, Dr Mwakyembe said he was in support of TCRA and the minister for Works, Communications and Transport, Mr Isaac Kamwelwe, to suspend some Pay-TV operators, including Multi-Choice and Zuku from airing FTA channels.

"Since some of the Pay Television operators have been violating terms of contract. I think it is time TCRA came up with guidelines to avoid unnecessary inconveniences," said Dr Mwakyembe.

He added: "I also applaud those operators who have already removed the FTA channels in their lists as per government order."

Multi-choice Tanzania Limited and Simbanet Tanzania Limited (Zuku), which have a $100,000 agreement with TCRA removed FTA channels from their packs after they were directed by the government recently.

The government threatened to take action against Startimes, which has a $400,000 contract with TCRA, for failure to air FTA as they are compelled to per the agreement. The firm was fined Sh100 million after breaching the agreement, which compeled it to air FTA free-of-charge.

"It is true we fined the firm Sh100 million after we found it guilty of breaking the laws. And we also issued them (firm) a notice that we would revoke its operations license," he said.

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