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The Media and Democracy in Tanzania

For Britain-Tanzania Society Seminar at SOAS, December 6th, 2012

Ben Taylor

on 22 July 2013

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Transcript of The Media and Democracy in Tanzania

Ben Taylor,
December 2012

The Media and Democracy in Tanzania
TSN: Government-owned
TBC: "Public Service Broadcaster"
IPP: Reginald Mengi
however ...
Local radio
Digital media / citizen media: blogs, forums, social networks
and plenty more
MCL: Nation Media Group (Kenya),
The Aga Khan
Political Press: Uhuru (CCM-owned)
TanzaniaDaima (Chadema supporting)
"Udaku" / Tabloids: Global Publishers, etc.
Mapping the
Tanzanian Media

Advertising-heavy business models
No critical coverage of key advertisers
Blurred lines between editorial content and advertising
Easy for coverage to be bought by politicians, business, etc.
Owners' political interests
Few media owners are in the business to make money
Furthering political interests
Readers / audience only vaguely aware of political affiliations
Affiliations shift over time
Freedom of the press?
Government can close down any newspaper at any time without giving reasons
Extra-judicial actions
No freedom of information law
Oct 2010: Govt threatens to ban Mwananchi
May 2012: Doctors' leader beaten, newspaper closed down
September 2012:
TV journalist Daud Mwangosi killed by the police
Local newspapers covering Njombe and Iringa regions
Making local government more responsive to the community
in 2010
Filling a
news gap
Putting the community first
Successes at a micro-level: schools, clinics, roads
Changed the local political environment
Hosting the local conversation
Read by key local figures
Funded by sales,
adverts, donors
Resistance: legal threats, censorship
threats, complaints, defences
into this
context ...

Our single
biggest story?

The killing of Daud Mwangosi
National news story breaks in our area
heavy police presence
Nyololo village, Mufindi district, Iringa region
was reporting on a Chadema party meeting
beaten by the police, then shot in stomach with tear-gas cannister
many witnesses, including other journalists
2nd, 2012
What happened?
TV news reporter killed by the police
escaped police efforts to confiscate cameras
shared photos quickly, widely
posted on blogs, JamiiForums, Facebook
eyewitness statements on TV, etc.
Important role of online media
Media ownership
affects coverage
Tanzania's first real new media event
Enabled rapid dissemination of the story
Made a cover-up impossible
(Initially) gave the story less prominance
Emphasised role of Chadema in causing unrest over that of the police
HabariLeo / Daily News / TBC / Uhuru
Gave the story greater prominence
More critical of the police, govt
Independent media
Resilience of the media
inspiring media response
challenge, criticism, persistence
Difficult media environment
journalist killed by the police
"hot" politics, getting hotter
attempts at a cover up
The aftermath
as told by
International attention
Condemnation within Tanzania
statements from:
Iringa Press Club
Tanzania Editors' Forum
Media Council of
Tanzania (MCT)
Media Institute of Southern
Africa - Tanzania Chapter
Union of Tanzanian
Press Clubs (UTPC)
Tanzania Press
Photographers Association
Legal and Human
Rights Centre (LHRC)
Media's own response
on the page
on the streets
Ben Taylor
What this story tells us
Media and Democracy
Reasons to be

Reasons to be

politics close to boiling point
human rights concerns
media doing
its job
media diversity gives strength
democratic culture not yet embedded
democratic culture is growing
Full transcript