Empowering Media in Tanzania

BBC Media Action presenter Melissa Michael
BBC Media Action presenter Melissa Michael © FDFA/Magali Rochat

Citizens and governments rely on media to stay informed, communicate and be held accountable. Quality issues, revenue challenges, a difficult legal environment and security concerns limit the capacity of the Tanzanian media to play this role effectively. The Empowering Media Tanzania Program builds on long standing Swiss experience and works through contributions to six local and international media support partners to improve media quality, journalism security and content provided to young Tanzanian women. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Media & freedom of information
Democratic participation and civil society
01.01.2021 - 31.12.2024
CHF  6’381’145
Background Once a beacon of freedom of expression in East Africa, press freedom has been in decline in Tanzania in recent years. Media is no longer capable to hold those in power to account due to a represseive legal environment. The safety of journalists has suffered. At the same time, Tanzanian media is facing similar structural challenges as media elswhere whereby traditional business models, relying on advertising, are eroding. Media consumption and revenue models are moving online, often to international competitors. As a result, Tanzanians are left with a wide variety of struggling media outlets, many of which produce low quality content produced by poorly qualified and paid journalists who live in fear.
Objectives To contribute to  free, independent and professional media in Tanzania which provides timely and relevant information to citizens.
Target groups The direct target group is media practitioners which include reporters, editors, managers and owners of media houses. Audiences in general, and women in particular, are the ultimate beneficiaries, totalling approximately three million men and women.
Medium-term outcomes
  1. Media, including community radios and news media, report on matters of public interest while adhering to professional standards and are financially sustainable.
  2. Media practitioners in Tanzania have access to a safety and protection mechanism as they practice their profession, thus upholding press freedom, safeguarding human rights and strengthening democracy in Tanzania.
  3. Audiences, in particular young women and girls, are empowered to make their own decisions regarding their social, economic and political rights.  

Expected results:  

  • Technical assistance and training to media houses and journalists on quality content and financial sustainability.
  • Setting up of legal, digital and physical security services and psycho-social support for journalists.
  • Broadcast and posting of media content that focuses on gender issues, rights and facts.

Results from previous phases:  

  • 77% of Tanzanian media consumers perceive media as informative.
  • 51% of respondents (both male and female) to SDC perception survey in 2019 believe media influence decision making in allocation of resources in their localities.
  • 88% of Tanzania Media Foundation’s grantees have reported a revenue increase of more than 20%.
  • Young women and men exposed to BBC Niambie programme said they learned that men and women have equal rights to share their opinions and that asking questions of their leaders helps in attaining civic rights.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
Foreign state institution
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Foreign private sector South/East
  • Sub-National State SouthEast
  • Schweizerische UNESCO-Kommiss

Other partners
UNESCO, Tanzania Media Foundation (TMF), University of Dar Es Salam (UDSM), International Media Support (IMS) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Media Action
Coordination with other projects and actors Governance’s Social Accountability Program (SAP), Health Program System Strengthening (HPSS) and Employment and income’s youth projects.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    6’381’145 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    4’666’209
Project phases Phase 2 01.01.2021 - 31.12.2024   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.08.2014 - 28.02.2021   (Completed)