THE Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Innocent Bashungwa has said more emphasis should be on local content production in the media to protect cultural diversity as well as preserve national identity.
He said media owners should have a reasonable desire to ensure that Tanzanians can see films and television programmes that reflect their history, culture and language.
“Putting more emphasis on local content, will create new opportunities for the distribution of cultural goods and services,” he said.
“You have a role to play, to ensure Tanzanians enjoy local cultural expressions even in local languages, thus promoting the diversity of cultural expressions,” he added.
The minister made the remarks in Dar es Salaam yesterday during his meeting with media owners, multiplex operators, Tanzania Film Board (TFB), Copyright Society of Tanzania (Cosota) and National Arts Council of Tanzania (BASATA).
The multiplex operators are Star Media Tanzania, Agape Media and Basic Transmissions (Digitek and Continental decoders).
According to the electronic and postal communications (radio and television broadcasting content) regulations of 2018, local content means the total of all television or radio programmes which fulfill the following conditions; production is made in Kiswahili or English; the content deals with issues that are unique and relevant to Tanzanian audiences and at least 40 per cent of the shares of the production company is owned by Tanzanians.
Mr Bashungwa further said the digitalisation of the economy has been a key focus of tax debates in recent years, saying it is high time for stakeholders to commence debates on taxing virtual operations.
Earlier, Agape Media owner, Dr Vernon Fernandes said it was crucial for the decision made in the sector to be market-driven and not otherwise.
He cited an example in which operators were forced to move from regional to national operation, while others are non-profit something that had side effects on their operations.
On interoperability to save consumers from the inconveniences of keeping several decoders, he said it would be easy for terrestrial television but difficult for satellite television operators.
In February, 2020 Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) rolled out the public campaign, targeting mostly pay television services.
The agency is mulling the introduction of some sort of a ‘super decoder’ or Set Top Box (STB) that will allow television subscribers to interchange smart cards from different service providers using the same decoder.
The introduction of the Conditional Access Module (CAM) decoder will be the first in the country and according to TCRA, it is meant to save consumers from the inconvenience of keeping several decoders.
Currently, both Free To Air (FTA) and Direct to Home (DTH) operators have their decoders and issue smart cards to respective subscribers. But now TCRA wants to change that and have in the market a Common Interface (CI) decoder for the envisaged pay television interoperability