THE Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has slapped a 5m/- fine to each of three pay TV operators found guilty of transmitting false and misleading information related to the country’s position on COVID-19.
The operators are Star Media Tanzania Limited, Multichoice Tanzania Limited and Azam Digital Broadcast Limited.
In a recent public notice published in the ‘Daily News’, TCRA Director General, Eng James Kilaba, stated that, the services providers have breached their licence conditions as per requirement of the law.
Eng Kilaba noted that along with the fine, the service providers will be obliged to give a broadcast apology for seven consecutive days taking into consideration the day and time the offensive content was aired.
The Director of Licensing and Enforcement, Mr John Daffa, confirmed to the ‘Sunday News’ that the service providers were given a reprimand.
“It was an external content provider (CITIZEN) who aired the misleading information; Star Media Tanzania Limited, Multichoice Tanzania Limited and Azam Digital Broadcast Limited being the service providers responsible to regulate them,” he explained.
He said the service providers have a responsibility to be gatekeepers of the content generated by content providers, especially those coming from outside the country.
Star Media Tanzania Limited, Multichoice Tanzania Limited, and Azam Digital Broadcast are operating under the licence provided to them by the authority, thus any content being broadcast should be guided by rules and regulations.
In the case of any violation, the Director said the offence will be punishable in accordance to the law.
Before the decision, the three service providers appeared before TCRA on February 27, 2020 (Star Media Tanzania Limited and Azam Digital Broadcast Limited) and February 30, 2020 (Multichoice Tanzania Limited) and acknowledged to having committed the offence.
In the notice, it was also stated that the TV operators satisfied themselves with breaching Section 48 (2) & (3), Section 44 (2) (b) of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority Act [Cap 172 R: E 2017].
And their fines follow their failure to comply with Regulation 22(e) of the Electronic and Postal Communications (Digital and Other Broadcasting Networks and Services) Regulations of 2018 and Regulation 11(1) of the Electronic and Postal Communications (Radio and Television Content) Regulations of 2018.
Should Star Media Tanzania Limited, Multichoice Tanzania Limited and Azam Digital Broadcast Limited fail to comply with the above Order, TCRA shall proceed to take further regulatory and legal action against them without further notice and at their costs and consequences, cautioned the advert.