Whilst others are meddling with other bigger tech x community issues, Tanzania now wants the free speech society to pay a big substantial amount to air views and opinions, anyway … let’s see how that fair’s out!   According to an article by IAfrikan late in 2017, Tanzania was working on a law to regulate social media, yes we all agree social media is a mayhem but also meddling with it is a pretty risky business for both parties.

Some regulations that did come out on the bill include :

  • Online platforms will be required to ban anonymous users and fully cooperate with Tanzania’s law enforcement authorities.
  • Online platforms will be required to install user manuals and record proceedings of their business around the clock by installing CCTV cameras.
  • Publishing of content that uses bad language including the use of disparaging or abusive words which is calculated to offend an individual or a group of persons will not be allowed.
  • Publishing of false content likely to mislead or deceive the public is not allowed except when it is clearly stated as satire or fiction.

And also according to the proposed bill, if anyone is deemed to have posted content that is considered to be “indecent, obscene, hate speech, extreme violence or material that will offend or incite others, cause annoyance, threaten, or encourage or incite crime, or lead to public disorder”, they will be charged a fine of 5 million Tanzanian Shillings (approximately $2,300) and / or a minimum of 12 months in jail.

Pretty serious business over there.

So, Bloggers, the free speech society are required to apply for a license from TCRA, the same license that online radios and TV websites are stipulated to. Monopoly is smelling!

For some reason, the ‘just‘ reason is to cease the moral decay caused by the internet ” Despite TCRA holding public forums to discuss the draft document published in 2017 where various stakeholders are reported with raised objections, Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe, Tanzania’s Minister for Information, Culture, Arts, and Sports, has gone on to sign the regulations into law. Tanzania’s government has said that the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2018 will help to put a stop to the “moral decadence” caused by social media and the Internet in the country. The eastern Afrikan country’s policymakers also said that social media is a threat to Tanzania’s national security. ”

Tanzania’s online content providers’ license fees.

Tanzania is too much maybe!  so they also require everyone in Tanzania to have PINs and Passwords to secure their phones, for reasons not known, let’s try guess maybe a person will post malicious content with your phone and you’ll be fined, makes much sense anyway, failure to ‘secure your phone’ you will be fined more than 5 million Tanzanian Shillings (approximately $2,000) or even 12 months imprisonment, or both depending on what the court decides. This is sooo bizarre!

Also, online content publishers (blogs, podcasts, videos) will apply for a license at a fee of 100,000 Tanzanian Shillings, pay an initial license fee of 1,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings and an annual license fee of 1,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings. This means to run something as simple as a personal blog (text) if you live in Tanzania, you’d have to spend an initial (approximately) $900 in license fees.

So In Tanzania, the Internet is a rented hall costing you up to $930 to license a blog, a place where we all know it a place of free will and communication. So much B#######T around the air.

To be authorized as an online content provider, applicants are expected to fill a form detailing the estimated cost of investment, the number of directors and stakeholders in the platform, their share of capital, staff qualifications, expected dates of commencing operations, besides future growth plans.

Quoting QZ: “But even after providing this documentation, authorities still reserve the right to revoke a permit if a site publishes content that “causes annoyance, threatens harm or evil, encourages or incites crimes” or jeopardizes “national security or public health and safety.” Officials could also force managers to remove “prohibited content” within 12 hours or face fines not less than five million shillings ($2,210) or a year in prison.”

“The registration requirements and the fees are likely to be a heavy burden for most bloggers and small-sized outlets streaming content in Tanzania, thereby reducing diversity in the media space in the process,” Angela Quintal, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Africa program Said.

Let’s Sip Tea and wait for the Arrests in the meantime #FREESPEECHTZ is our advocate ….. We are all hustling Tanzania.

Featured Image by Eric Palma

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