The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has suspended Clouds TV and Clouds Radio for seven days over alleged violation of election coverage.
In a statement to newsrooms on Thursday, the authority said that the two sister stations announced outcomes of the nomination process in some constituencies without the approval of the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
The authority stated that the reports were aired on Wednesday, August 26, during the stations’ “360” and “Power Breakfast” morning programmes.
NEC had complained that the stations aired results that showed that certain Members of Parliament aspirants had sailed through unopposed after other contestants failed to meet nomination criteria in certain constituencies.
According to the authority, the stations violated the Code on Political Party Elections Broadcasting Act of 2015.
The stations were directed to air an apology for the rest of Thursday before the ban took effect today, Friday, August 28.
Earlier this month TCRA banned a radio programme (Jahazi) from the same station for allegedly promoting immorality in the society.
The latest move has, however, been criticized with the John Pombe Magufuli-led government being accused of tightening the noose on press freedom ahead of the October General Elections.
Early this month, the government banned all media houses from airing foreign media content without state approval.
The new regulations announced by TCRA also require a government official to accompany any local journalist when covering a story with a foreigner.
This comes amid heated campaigns in the country with opposition chief Tundu Lissu who will be contesting against Magufuli of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) crying foul over sabotage of opposition in the country by the government.
On the nomination day on Tuesday, Lissu protested against what he termed as irregularities and organized sabotage against opposition candidates.
In a series of tweets, Lissu decried irregular scrutiny of opposition candidates’ nomination forms by NEC.
He said that NEC had informed them that the exercise would take fifteen minutes but later subjected them to hours of irregular scrutiny of their papers while clearing President John Pombe Magufuli within minutes.
He claimed that opposition candidates were violently attacked and robbed of their nomination papers by “armed CCM thugs” before they could submit them to their respective Returning Officers.
According to Lissu, seven others were arrested before submitting their forms.