Tanzania: Chadema Officer, Student in Trouble Over Online TV Content

TWO people, including Chadema Electronic (E) Content Officer appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrates' Court on Friday, charged with providing content of the opposition party's online TV without a licence issued by the Tanzania Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TCRA).

They are Dominic Mgaya, the e-content officer with the opposition party staying at Kimara and Isaya Massawe, who is an information technology (IT) student at College of Business Education (CBE) residing at Keko Mwanga.

Before two magistrates in different court chambers at the Dar es Salaam Court, the two accused denied the charges.

Mgaya was arraigned before Principal Resident Magistrate, Richard Kabate while Massawa was brought before Senior Resident Magistrate, Yusto Ruboroga.

Magistrate Kabate granted bail to Mgaya, a journalist by professional, on the condition of securing two reliable sureties, who were required to present identification letters and sign a bond of 500,000/- each.

The Chadema officer met the bail condition. For his part, Massawe was ordered to secure two reliable sureties, who each signed a bond of 3m/- and presented to the court presided over by Magistrate Ruboroga identification letters. He also fulfilled the bail condition.

The trial of Mgaya was adjourned until October 20, 2020, for mention, while that of Massawe was postponed until October 15, 2020 for a similar purpose.

The prosecution, led by State Attorney Aldoph Ulaya, informed the court that investigations into both cases had not been completed.

Prosecuting, the trial attorney told the court that on diverse dates between October 14, 2017 and September 1, 2020 and in various places of the city of Dar es Salaam, Mgaya allegedly provided online content through an online YouTube channel or account known as Chadema Media TV.

The court said also that between February 4, 2019 and September 16, 2020 in various places in the city, Massawe provided online content through an online YouTube channel or account known as Isaya Thomas TV.

In both cases, according to the prosecution, the two accused are alleged to have committed the offences without a licence issued by the TCRA, an offence contrary to Section 103(1) of the Electronic and Postal Communications Act No 3 of 2010.

Such a provision is read together with Regulations 14(1) and 18 of the Electronic and Postal Communication (Online Content) Regulations, GN No 133 of 2018.

According to Section 21(1), a person who contravenes the provisions of these Regulations commits an offence and shall, upon conviction, where no specific punishment has been provided, be liable to a fine of not less than 5m/- or to imprisonment for a term of not less than 12 months or both.

TCRA is a quasi-independent government body responsible for regulating the communications and broadcasting sectors in Tanzania.

It was established under the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Act No12 of 2003 to regulate electronic communications, postal services and management of the national frequency spectrum in the United Republic of Tanzania.

It became operational on November 1, 2003 and effectively took over the functions of the now defunct Tanzania Communications Commission (TCC) and Tanzania Broadcasting Commission (TBC) respectively.

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