Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Govt again urged to co-run digital, analogue broadcasts

Kasulu�Urban MP Moses Machali (NCCR Mageuzi)
Media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT) has called upon the government to run analogue and digital broadcasting concurrently to accommodate viewers in a major part of the country being denied their fundamental constitutional right of access to information.

The recommendation is in reaction to the response by the Minister of Communication, Science and Technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa to a question by Kasulu –Urban MP Moses Machali (NCCR Mageuzi) on whether the government will revert to analogue broadcasting to accommodate the millions who just cannot afford the switch.

Machali reported that a majority of media stakeholders proposed that the two technologies be used simultaneously until 2015 which is the deadline for all countries to effect the migration to exclusive digital broadcasting.

In his response Prof Mbarawa made it clear that the government will not go back to analogue broadcasting because the two years ahead of the compulsory switch will be used to fix any ‘hiccups’ in the switch.

Prof Mbarawa further explained that returning to the broadcasting system will only increase operational costs.

He said that digital broadcasting has many positive effects but mentioned only one, clearer pictures.

MOAT also pointed out that the government statistics for Dar es Salaam digital users based on decoder sales is only 250,000 yet television set owners are estimated to be 600,000, meaning 60 percent of Dar residents have no access to any form of broadcasting.

The Media owners also argued that the government has provided no evidence as to how running both systems will increase costs and to whom. MOAT further denied government’s claim of the digital system having a lot of advantages because financial losses have been registered as businesses shun advertisements because of the low number of viewers.

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