Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam
The Tanzanian broadcasting regulator has banned a portion of a radio programme and fined the station for airing views supporting same-sex marriage.
On Tuesday, the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) said that the ‘Jicho la Ng’ombe’ segment of Clouds FM’s Power Breakfast show had been banned.
According to a report published by ippmedia.com, the segment “sensitised Tanzanians to copy the US during their presidential elections last year whereby one of the priests was given a chance to pray, and he prayed for all people including homosexuals”.
The TCRA warned Clouds FM’s management that if they broadcast any support for same-sex marriage again they “will be breaking the law and that stringent measures would be taken against them”.
The station was also ordered to pay a fine of 5 million Tanzanian Shillings ($3,087) for “provoking the breach of peace”.
Clouds FM was not the only station targeted by the TCRA.
Two others were shut down for six months; one for urging Muslims not to take part in the national census and the other station for encouraging Christians not to eat meat slaughtered by Muslims.
“We are warning all the three radio stations to ensure that their presenters do not use words which may provoke breach of peace while presenting because their licenses will be revoked for the benefit of the public,” said TCRA Content Committee Deputy Chairman Walter Bgoya.
Sex acts between men are illegal in Tanzania and carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. While sex acts between women are not specifically banned in most of the country, they are illegal on the semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar and are punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
The Tanzanian government has refused to bow to international pressure to decriminalise homosexuality and has stated that it is prepared to lose foreign aid over the issue.
In 2011, Tanzanian Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said “that homosexuality is unacceptable to our society. We need to look critically on these issues. To me this is unacceptable. Even animals can’t do such a thing”.
According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, 95 percent of Tanzanians believe that homosexuality should not be accepted.