A Tanzanian TV channel is in hot water simply for interviewing a gay man.
Local media reported that the interview was shown on the Take One programme, screened on the Clouds TV channel, on Tuesday last week.
It’s not clear what was said in the interview but the government has announced that it will now investigate the matter in the wake of a flood of outrage on social media.
MP Amina Mollel raised the controversy in Parliament and called for a debate on the issue, saying that the programme “had broken Tanzania’s morals and ethics by glorifying gayism”.
Deputy Minister for Information, Culture, Artists and Sports, Anastazia Wambura, told The Citizen that her ministry’s Ethics Committee will look at complaints about the interview.
“The committee will seek to establish whether Clouds TV was wrong or right in the decision to air the interview and thereafter recommend an appropriate action to take,” she said.
The committee’s findings will then be sent to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) for possible further action.
Take One’s host, Zamaradi Mketema, reportedly defended the interview as part of the station’s efforts to reach out to all people without discrimination.
In 2013, Clouds FM’s Power Breakfast Show was fined 5 million Tanzanian Shillings by the TCRA for airing views “supporting same-sex marriage”.
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.
In the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project survey, 95 percent of Tanzanians said that homosexuality should not be accepted by society.