Tanzanian media do not exist in a vacuum but are dependent on the political, legal and social context of the country. Media diversity in Tanzania evolved along historical and political changes during periods of colonialization, independence, unification of the much larger mainland territory of Tanganyika and the coastal archipelago of Zanzibar, times of socialism and self-reliance, and the introduction of the multi-party system.
It equally depends on the legal framework that guarantees freedom of speech and press, and encourages media – but lately puts harsh regulation in place especially with an attempt to control the online sphere and facts. At the same time, it does not address the issues of (cross) media concentration and transparency.
Looking at the economic situation, advertisements are placed in an opaque procedure. Mostly state media get cash injections trough state funding and advertising.
The characteristics of the Tanzanian society, from literacy rates to consumption habits, determine which media outlets or media types dominate, and presumably have the strongest influence on public opinion.
During the last decade, Tanzania has been hit by several waves of new technology, which changed the way people communicate and consume news and information.