The Effects of Minibuzz in the Tanzanian Media Landscape

Many Tanzanians are dissatisfied with the current level of public service delivery; many feel that their opinions are not heard, and that it is a useless battle to try to influence policy makers. In this context, giving prime-time space to the views of ordinary people is critical to building confidence among the citizenry that their voices count. One such approach is the Tanzanian TV show, Minibuzz. The show is a daily current affairs program that is running on its fourth year with the very purpose of stimulating citizen debate and to provide a space for social, economic and political debates among regular Tanzanians.

In 2013 we conducted a series of exercises geared at three main areas: (1) understanding the coverage of the show; (2) understanding more from the audience – i.e., the main reasons why people watch the show, how they rate the show against a daily newscast, and (3) understanding how media experts view the Minibuzz show in the Tanzanian media arena. We learned some interesting insights, including that 26% of all Tanzanians watch the show, and that most people watch it in order to obtain new information or hear views of citizens. Nearly two-thirds of those interviewed also said that they often discuss the topics from the show with friends and family, and the topics on the show were perceived as more relevant than the topics featured in the TV news. The media experts generally agreed the show holds a unique place among Tanzanian media, but also had some suggestions for improvements.

This new publication presents a summary of this assessment. It is the first in a new series of Monitoring Briefs sharing learning from Twaweza's work. More to follow.

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Authors: Toke Wolff



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