TBC … Press Freedom in Tanzania
As CHADEMA, one of the main opposition parties in Tanzania, was launching its 2010 General Elections campaigns yesterday at Jangwani grounds, a bizarre incident occured. Suddenly, TBC live broadcasts of the launching stopped. In the first 10 seconds no one, among those present at the grounds, was aware … but suddenly the mass started chanting … wamezima… wamezima … TBC wamezima urushaji wa tukio hili … wamezima… The entire ground went wild. Was it done on purpose … so that Tanzanians following the event over radio and TV should not hear what was being said? Several minutes later … an apology was announced … mtambo umeharibika/there was a technical problem …
There were those who demanded that TBC go away from the grounds along with the equipments because they were ‘not being fair’ to people in other parts of the country following the launching over radio and TV.
One of TBC vehicles bought and run on people’s tax.
TBC have a slogan: Ukweli na Uhakika – literally – Truth and Reliability. Journalism is a noble profession and there are sets of codes of ethics guiding its practice … whims have no place while practising this profession. If what happened at Jangwani the other day was on purpose … then we have the right to question whether TBC is there to serve just the ruling elite and their interests or it’s there for all of us. And, therefore, the whole question of press freedom in Tanzania would be at stake. Remember Shakespear? ‘Truth will out’.