REPORT: Tanzania media sector struggles as adverts decrease

DAR ES SALAAM: A SPECIAL formed committee for evaluating the economic status of media has unveiled that Tanzania’s media houses are sailing through economic difficulties resulting from the decreasing number of advertisements.

Subsequently, some have failed to pay journalists while some print media companies have shut down businesses.

The Committee chairperson, Mr Tido Mhando submitted the report to President Samia Suluhu Hassan in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday saying profits in the media houses have decreased to the extent of paying only 2,000/- per stories.

According to the committee chair, the study has unveiled 60 percent of journalists are paid less than 300,000/- per month while 77 percent receive less than 500,000/- per month.

“At the time of the evaluation, most employees had not been paid for more than three months,” he stated.

ALSO READ: Govt reaffirms commitment to elevate media economic status

Other challenges facing media outlets include tax, limited ability of the media to manage media business, changes in the information technology and broadcasting, decrease in advertising in the media, low investment in the Information and broadcasting sector and the presence of few workers with the skills, knowledge and talents needed in the market.

Commenting on the whole issue of health care for journalists, the chairman noted that only 38 percent of journalists with work contracts have health insurance included in their contracts, while 62 percent don’t have access.

However, Mr Mhando outlined nine recommendations to the governments noting that if considered it would help solve media challenges in the country.

• Media industry should improve its human resources to keep pace with technological changes

• Media owners should provide contracts and health insurance to journalists

• Media sector should conduct various researches to strengthen and improve the sector such as the audience and improve internal contents.

• The media should create alternative sources of income to increase the scope of income and profit

• To improve the Information and broadcasting policy so that it increases the share ownership in the media to foreigners from 49 to 75 percent.

• The government should review the existing debts and allocate a budget for advertising and pay its debts

• The government should reduce or eliminate VAT and customs duties on printing papers

• The budget of Institutions for the management of the Information sector including TCRA should be increased to strengthen management as well as to conduct research.

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