partly due to the growing illiteracy in
the country. According to the reports,
28.6% (13.6 million) of the 45 million
Tanzanians cannot read or write in any
language. And lastly, metropolitan bias is
very high with print media in Tanzania
as urban and peri-urban areas continue
to enjoy high coverage compared to rural areas.

State of Broadcasting
The state of broadcast media in Tanzania is relatively impressive. Overall,
Tanzania has 128 registered radio stations, of which 53 are on air. Also Tanzania has a total of 54 TV stations thats
are licensed. Out of these, 28 TV stations
are on air. Radio penetration in Tanzania
is very high, now estimated at 87.7%.
Nearly 60% of households in Tanzania
own radio sets.
On the other hand, Tanzania is progressing in the application of digital
technology as required by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
that member states should migrate from
analogue to digital by the year 2015. The
Tanzania Communications Regulatory
Authority (TCRA), a statutory regulator
behind the process has already issued
certificates to three multiplex operators
that will be responsible for compilation,
operation and marketing of broadcasting
content. They are Star Media (T) Ltd, Basic Transmission Ltd and Agape Associates Ltd.
Transmission and reception of radio
signals using digital technology is credited for producing high quality sound,
and also for accommodating special ser-

vices like paging and data-casting. Digital
TV produces high quality pictures, delivers
more channels and facilitates convergence
of services. Both types of digital broadcasting reduce the problem of interruption
when airing programs. Eventually citizen
journalism will get boosted as more cable
TV services and FM radio stations involving
non-journalists in news dissemination are
expected to be established.
Currently, TV covers only 19% of the
urban Tanzania population and only 5% of
the total population of Tanzania. Moreover,
the high cost of batteries for radio sets and
lack of electricity provision to rural dwellers, as well as the high costs of owning
television sets remain a challenge in this
Generally, the ownership of media
(both print and broadcasting) in Tanzania
is either state-owned or private. The stateowned media refers to “media channels
that are owned, operated or controlled by
the government, as well as channels that
are managed by government appointees or
that are governed by boards, a majority of
whose members are selected by the government or ruling party”. Private-owned
media, according to the definition by the
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ),
refers to “press independent from government, political or economical control or
from control of material and infrastructure
essential for production and dissemination
of media outlets”. The ownership of private
media in Tanzania if further categorized
into four groups: private (commercial), private (non-profit), private (sectarian/partisan), and independent (non-state).
However, except for few media (like
Raia Mwema, which is owned by profes-

So This is Democracy • 2011


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