An assessment of public broadcasting services impartiality in general election: the case of 2005 general election in Tanzania

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Unversity of Dar es Salaam
The wind of democratic reforms of the 1990s saw many countries in Africa changing from one party political system to multiparty politics that in turn led to liberalization of the media. With these changes, Tanzania like others in Africa, can no longer define the role of broadcasting as just nation building and development. The issue of democracy is now an integral part of the political process. Private radios and television stations were established, while state broadcasting had to be transformed into Public Broadcasting Services (PBS). The main focus of this study was to assess the adherence of public broadcasting services to ethical principles of impartiality during the 2005 general elections. Its purpose is to examine the nature of public broadcasting services and the extent to which they conducted themselves in a fair play to provide equitable access to all contesting political parties during the 2005 general election campaigns. The study was conducted in Dar es Salaam, and much of the data was obtained from the documentary survey of the existing literature and reports, examination of programmes that were aired by Public Broadcasting Services during the 2005 general elections and interviews with selected informed respondents drawn from PBS, political parties, political scientists and experts. The study revealed that the main reason that determined the degree of impartiality of PBS in reporting the election campaigns of the 2005 general elections was the problem of funds both within PBS and political parties. According to the findings, the main reason for CCM to be accorded more airtime than the other parties was the financial strength of the party itself. On the other hand, due to limited funds of PBS, it was not possible for its staff to attend every campaign rally of every political party. Therefore lack of funds for the opposition parties, and the ability of CCM to finance its campaign rallies was the main factor that led to unequal access to the Public Broadcasting Services. The study also revealed that the nature of appointments of the top officials of PBS, that is being presidential appointments, led to the PBS officials favouring the ruling party, CCM.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF JF1001.T34M7)
Election, Broadcasting services, Tanzania
Mrindoko, N. A. (2010) An assessment of public broadcasting services impartiality in general election: the case of 2005 general election in Tanzania, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam