According to TCRA Content Committee, the five televisions namely Azam TV, Star TV, Channel Ten, ITV and East Africa Television (EATV), on 30 November last year aired a story in their news bulletin which was contrary to broadcasting rule number 6(3) of 2005.
TCRA also placed the five television stations under its watch for six month from yesterday.
“The TV stations aired a story which was issued by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) on the evaluation of the local authorities by-elections which alleged that the polls were marred by human rights violations, amplified by excessive use of power by state security agents but they did not bother to balance and verify it,” said TCRA content committee Vice chairman Joseph Mapunda.
The five stations are reported to have quoted LHRC as saying that the by-elections for ward councilors were marred by irregularities that led to abduction and attack on various people. They were also reported to have been conducted by state security organs and supporters of some political parties.
In the report LHRC called upon the state and other stakeholders to ensure the malpractice is controlled because if left without accountability, could set a precedent to be repeated in the next year’s local authority’s elections.
The communication regulator said that by not balancing and verifying the story, there are all signals that they were intending to disrupt national unity and fuel civil disobedience.
Channel Ten, ITV and East Africa Television were ordered to pay 15m/- each for the wrongdoings while Azam Two and Star TV were ordered to pay 7.5m/-.
All the stations were given 30 days to appeal before the fair competition tribunal if they are not satisfied with the punishments they have been given. The fines are also required to be paid within the stated period.
TCRA also said the stations which have been ordered to pay 15m/- denied to have committed an offence or violated any law in the bulletin because they received it from a reliable source.
The other two stations were ordered to pay 7.5m/- because they agreed to have gone against the law in airing the news and requested that they be forgiven and promised not to repeat the wrongdoing.