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Tanzania celebrated World Radio Day on Feb.13. The day was set aside by UNESCO in 2011 to support the role of public service broadcasting for developing humanity.

According to Tanzania Daily News, this is the second time that the African country has observed the day. The theme for the day was “Challenges of public broadcasting in Tanzania.”

Tanzania Media Council and UNESCO sponsored a ceremony that took place in Dar es Salaam. It mainly addressed the reasons why broadcasting is in Tanzania is complicated. One of the reasons is that more than 80 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas that don’t have access to credible information because information is often more concentrated in urban centers. The amount of varying dialects the country is host to are also an issue in getting information into the hands of many.

Several speakers remarked that the image public radio has in Tanzania is not true. Ayub Mohamed Kalufya from Uvinza FM Community Radio said the process of licensure for broadcasting was “cumbersome.” Complaints were also made that the stations that serve the public are not as good as they seem, and that they need a faster and better-quality service to reach a wider audience.

Freedom House reported that Tanzania is considered a partly-free country with a partly-free press system, and that control of the leaders on the aired news might be one of the reasons.

Tanzanian media gurus, legal experts, and UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon Ndimara spoke during the World Radio Day and all recognized the importance of radio broadcasting in the modern world, according to the Tanzanian Daily News. They focused on increasing the public debate, encouraged young people to participate, and spoke of the progress the country has made in radio.

Reporters Without Borders also contributed a message on World Radio Day. The organization called for the release of the Burundian journalist Hassan Ruvakuki, known across Africa for his work in radio. He was given a life sentence in June 2012 for “participating in terrorist activity.” Though that charge has been dropped to a three-year prison sentence, his lawyer is calling for a conditional release, which Reporters Without Borders is supporting with a petition you can find on their website.

By Elisa Lopez Aguado. 

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