TCRA engages stakeholders to address broadcasting, postal challenges

DAR ES SALAAM: THE Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) is working with stakeholders in programmes to improve the quality of broadcasting content to safeguard national values and open the postal sector to more players.

The production and airing of local content on national radios and televisions and training on opportunities in the postal operations supply chain are among the initiatives; TCRA Director General, Dr Jabiri Bakari laid bare in the authority’s latest quarterly.

TCRA regulates broadcasting content on Tanzania Mainland and has a dedicated committee mandated to monitor compliance with radio, television, and online broadcasting content regulations and ethics, The five person Content Committee also advises the sector minister on broadcasting policy and handles complaints from operators and consumers.

Broadcasting is the most universally accessible means of communication and reaches more audiences in real-time than others.

Dr Bakari explains that TCRA is responsible for creating a conducive environment for expanding radio and television broadcasting services, and communications networks throughout the country.

TCRA promotes the planning, production, distribution and airing of broadcasting content that upholds the national heritage, customs and cultures of all Tanzanians.

Dr Bakari said TCRA, the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) and the University of Dodoma were implementing a phased programme in which traditional dances from 120 tribes and communities would be recorded in video and audio and the contents distributed to operators for onward broadcasting.

Dances and songs from 10 tribes had been covered by December 2023, he added The Authority has also coordinated the production of content with education on Tanzanian values, traditions and customs; to be distributed to 150 radio and television stations with district licences for airing.

The programme was launched in December 2023 by the Prime Minister, Hon. Kassim Majaliwa. TCRA recently met local independent content producers and urged them to enhance collaboration for their growth.

Dr. Bakari told them that unity would enable the government to more effectively support their endeavours and promote the development and accessibility of high quality content nationwide.

He advised them to revive the Tanzania Independent Producers Association (TAIPA). Dr Bakari explains in the quarterly report that TCRA would work with independent content producers to improve quality.

Plans were underway to facilitate concessionary term loans to content producers and broadcasting stations as a strategy to promote local content production.

Regulation 31. (1) of the radio and television broadcasting regulations of 2018 requires radio and television stations to ensure that at least 10 per cent of the local content they air is produced and supplied to the licensees by independent producers.

The regulation requires free-to-air content services licensees to air a minimum of sixty (60) per cent local content. The quota for community broadcasting stations is 80 per cent, according to the 2023 community broadcasting regu- lations.

TCRA also regulates the postal sector and had issued 116 licences to the public postal operator  the Tanzania Posts Corporation (TPC) and courier companies by December 2023.

There are six International Courier Operators, one East Africa Courier Operator, 45 Domestic Courier Operators; 14 Intracity Courier Operators, and 50 Intercity Transporter Courier Operators (mainly passenger buses).

Courier services are key in electronic commerce since items transacted online are physically delivered. TCRA coordinates the national addresses and postcode system, and trains postal sector stakeholders on its integrity.

TCRA has also introduced several initiatives to enable the postal sector to emerge from the downward trend caused by technological advances which have digitized traditional postal operations.

The volume of items sent through public postal operators worldwide has fallen drastically. For example, while 10,121,388 Items were posted by TPC out of Tanzania and 2,339,149 were received from abroad in 2017, the items fell to 243,199 and 261,983 respectively in 2023.

Resilient service providers have diversified into operations that maximize the potential of the digital interventions that led to the former’s declining performance.

TPC now offers digital products and has opened one stop centres all over Tanzania for government and public services. TCRA cooperates with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) to enhance postal service quality in Tanzania.

The Union has adopted a strategy to encourage postal operators and regulators to engage other players in the postal supply chain. Dr Bakari underlined the importance of this approach, saying it would promote electronic commerce, which involves many segments of the postal network.

The Authority is implementing an awareness programme on the UPU initiative, he said. Players in the supply chain include airlines, shipping agencies, transporters, security and tax authorities and logistics companies.

UPU Director General Mr. Masahiko Metoki announced in September 2023 that the Union would support the establishment of an information and communications technology (ICT) innovation and Training Centre in Arusha, to serve its current 45 PAPU Member States.

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