Established due to the dictates of transformation to liberal policies in early 90s which induced the proliferation of media outlets, the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) is committed to promoting freedom of the media and ensuring the highest professional standards and accountability.
It was started by the media fraternity as an independent, voluntary, non-statutory regulatory body in June 30, 1995 during the journalists and stakeholders Convention held in Dar es Salaam. It began operations in 1997 when it was officially registered under the Societies Ordinance of 1954.
Initially the Council focused on checking ethical lapses in the media. Through its Ethics Committee, it mediated complaints raised by the public against the media.
Gradually its activities increased to include training on ethics and professionalism to fill the yawning gap of trained practitioners in the bloated media industry. It is important to note the proliferation of media outlets did not match with the qualified practitioners available.
By 2008, the Council had three departments – Programmes, Publication and Research, Finance and Administration and the office of the Executive Secretary.
Due to increased activities – by 2012 – the Council five departs – Regulation and Standards; Finance; Human Resources; Ethics and Arbitration; Publication, Research and Documentation and the office of the executive Secretary.
It also has two information research centres catering for media practitioners, scholars, researchers and journalism students in both Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.
Though media is not a union matter, the Council has an office in Zanzibar which coordinates and follows development of the media in the Isles. It is important to note here that most of the newspapers which are printed on the mainland are also read in the Isles and this is also the case for television and radio.
The Council with activities increasing with time, was set-up as an alternative to the intention by the government to a establish a body to regulate and control the media.