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Tanzania communications regulator shuts 6 tv and 21 radio stations for non-payment of fees

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The Tanzanian Communication Agency has suspended the licences of six television and 21 radio stations for failing to pay regulatory fees.

The agency says that it issued a payment notice to 40 stations last July, but only 13 have paid the fees, hence the order for the remaining 27 stations to stop broadcasting.

But the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) has criticised the decision saying the move infringes the public right to information.

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Speaking to the BBC, MCT Executive Secretary Kajubi Mukajanga said stopping the stations from broadcasting is simply depriving people of important information.

He said there could be other ways to force the stations to pay the fees.

The Sahara Media Group, which owns three of the affected stations, has denied allegations that they have not paid the fees.

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The government has also permanently banned the weekly Kiswahili tabloid Mawio for alleged incitement of violence.

The decision comes only few days after the lifting of a ban on the regional English newspaper The East African, which was banned early last year.

Minister of Information Nape Nnauye said Mawio’s reporting style contravened the Newspaper Act.

The law has for a long time been criticised as outdated and restricting the freedom of expression.

The law gives the minister of information power to suspend or even ban a newspaper.

The Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) says it has been disappointed by the ban.

“We had hoped that the new government would have chosen a different approach in dealing with the accused faulty media, but looks like nothing has changed”, says MCT Executive Secretary Kajubi Mkajanga.

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