Law passed to restrict foreign film production in Tanzania


Foreign companies filming in Tanzania must give the government the right to vet raw footage and let the country use the movie in promotional material, according to a bill passed by parliament on Thursday.

Opposition groups said the bill – which still has to be approved by the president – would likely squash the country’s fledgling foreign film ventures.

“Putting these requirements in a law is like pushing away the individuals from working in Tanzania. These are not friendly conditions, instead of promoting the industry they will hold it back,” said Salome Makamba, an opposition lawmaker.

The Tanzanian government is increasingly intervening in all sectors of the economy, from mining to telecoms to agriculture. The state says it is increasing revenues and providing jobs, but analysts say heavy-handed interventions are driving away private investment.

Arts and entertainment grew at 13.7 percent last year, twice the national economic growth rate of 7 per cent, according to the ministry of finance. The ministry did not provide numbers regarding national and international film investment.

“This … requires any foreign production company or individual using Tanzania’s country, content or location for filming whole or any part of a film, advertisement, documentary or program to submit their raw footage to the Tanzania Film Board,” Attorney General Adelardus Kilangi said.

Filmmakers must also submit a finished copy of their work to the Tanzania Film Board or a delegated authority to get clearance before exiting Tanzania, he said.

Foreign individuals or companies are also required to allow the government to use video clips or the whole film to promote Tanzania and its culture, he said.

Failure to comply will leave the entity responsible for a fine of five percent of the production budget, he said.