Tanzania bans, fines radio station for pro-gay content

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A pro-gay advertisement has sparked the scorn of Tanzania’s communications regulator. According to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), the “Power Breakfast” morning segment that talked on American President’s Barack Obama’s recent statements concerning LGBT rights equality has been barred from airing and was fined over $3,000 for the content.

The TCRA said that the promotion of LGBT rights was a “breach of peace.”

It makes the East African country the latest to attack media for pushing LGBT equality. Uganda has been the most virulent in recent times, with their parliament scheduled to debate a controversial “Kill the Gays” bill that could set down the death penalty for the gay community.

Imani FM and Kwa Neema FM are now to be off air for 6 months after airing the programs, the TCRA said in its statement.

The content that promoted LGBT inclusion in the country was said by the TCRA to aim to “have Tanzanians sensitized to the ideas in order to copy them.”

For Tanzanian LGBT activist Monica Mwana, the idea is “an attack on freedom of speech and shows how Tanzania’s government is censoring any positive message for gay people.”

She told 429Magazine that “the LGBT community in Tanzania has largely been seen positively, so this is a surprise to all of us. We know there are angry people out there who would rather put us all to death, but the fact remains Tanzanians are accepting and understanding of the community.”

But the TCRA saw differently.

It said that the ruling is a warning to other presenters who “would go against the laws and regulations of broadcasting.”

Speaking to the media in Dar es Salaam, TCRA Content Committee Deputy Chairman Walter Bgoya cautioned that the regulators “will not hesitate to revoke licenses of any radio station that will repeat the mistake of breaching the peace.”

He said that licenses would be “revoked for the benefit of the public.”

While Mwana says that Tanzanians are becoming more open to LGBT people in general, public opinion polling has shown the country to be sternly anti-LGBT.

According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, 95 percent of Tanzanian residents believe that homosexuality is a way of life that society should not accept, which was the 7th-highest rate of non-acceptance in the 45 countries surveyed.

429Magazine

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