Tanzania’s government has approved new Cyber Regulations, giving itself undue control over the Internet. The government contends that the new Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2018 will help to put a stop to the “moral decadence”. The government blames the moral decline on social media and the Internet in the country. Social media has also been described as a threat to national security by some policymakers in Tanzania.
Below are some of the regulations
Blogging License Fees
With an application fee of 100,000 Tanzanian Shillings, an initial license fee of 1,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings, and an annual license fee of 1,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings, Tanzanians have to pay up to $900 to operate a personal blog in the country. The $930 blogging fee will likely be a barrier for many people in a country.
According to the World Bank in 2016, the GDP per capita of Tanzania was just $878 a year. “Where are bloggers and online platforms going to get the money to pay such high charges?” asked Neville Meena of the Tanzania Editors Forum. Meena regards the law as a government attempt to “restrict access to information in Tanzania.”
Internet Content Regulations
The Tanzanian government has the right to revoke a permit if a site publishes content that is ‘indecent, obscene, or hate speech. Other objectionable contents include extreme violence or material that will offend or incite others, cause annoyance, threaten, or encourage or incite crime, or lead to public disorder’. Online content providers will also be required to remove ‘prohibited content’ within 12 hours or face fines.
Also, the fines are not less than five million shillings ($2,210) or a year in prison. Consequently, online platforms are to bar anyone from posting anonymously or without registration. “This is going to kill bloggers in Tanzania,” said Mike Mushi, one of the cofounders of the Jamii Forums news platform. “Most will lose advertisers since they are not legally registered,” he told RSF.
Mandatory Mobile Security
Tanzanians with mobile devices are to secure it with a password or pay a fine. The fines can go up to 5 million Tanzanian shillings (about $2000)
Internet Cafés Surveillance
Internet cafés are to have surveillance to record and archive activities inside their business premises.
“These regulations were to uphold citizens’ rights to privacy, access to information and free expression,” Maxence Melo, the director of the Jamii Forums, the “Swahili Wikileaks,” told CNN. “We have completely lost our Freedom in the Cyberspace.”