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Kwanza online TV suspended over disseminating misleading content

THE Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Content Committee has suspended Kwanza online TV for 11 months for allegedly generating and disseminating biased, misleading and disruptive content.

TCRA Content Committee Vice-Chairperson Joseph Mapunda told journalists yesterday that on July 1, 2020 Kwanza online TV on its social media platform published unbalanced story on the state of Covid-19 in the country.

Mr Mapunda said the content was designed to cause panic and thus affect the country’s economy by slowing down various businesses, including posing a threat to tourists.

"The content committee has, therefore, banned Kwanza online TV for 11 months effective from today (yesterday) from offering services contrary to law. This is to give them time to correct their mistakes," Said Mr Mapunda.

He added that without taking time to balance its content and considering professional guidelines, Kwanza online TV on the material date posted false information released by the US embassy to its citizens with regard to coronavirus status in the country against the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, 2018 under Section 103(1) of the Electronic and Postal Communications Act (Cap 306).

Mr Mapunda said his committee had reached such a decision after realising that the online TV did not follow professional guidelines, which included balancing information to the relevant authorities in the country.

According to Mr Mapunda, the government through Prime Minister Kassim majaliwa released official data on the state of Covid-19 in Parliament on June 15, 2020.

Mr Mapunda noted that the Premier informed the nation that only 66 patients of  Covid-19 were still receiving treatment in various hospitals across the country.

He said the committee summoned Kwanza online TV for explanation on the matter before July 2, 2020, but they did not show up. He said the next day, the online TV replied through writing, saying the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania granted every citizen freedom of expression, finding, receiving and sharing information unconditionally.

He said his committee had come to the conclusion that the Constitution did not guarantee publishing and disseminating misleading information.

Mr Mapunda said the TV station had the right to appeal against his committee’s decision.

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