Tanzania: Blogger required to pay $930 annual licence fee

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Bloggers and other “online content creators” in Tanzania now have to pay $930 in licence fees per year to be approved by the government.

As part of the country’s new online regulations, the government will certify all bloggers and charge them an annual fee before they are allowed to start or continue operating online. However, authorities in Tanzania reserve the right to deny or revoke the permits for any site that “causes annoyance, threatens harm or evil, encourages or incites crimes” or deemed to threaten national security.

Tanzania clamps down on bloggers

Tanzania’s new online regulations, the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2018, gives the government widespread powers to police the web and any individual involved in creating online content in the country.

The annual $930 license fee demanded by the government will force most independent bloggers to cease operation with the gross national income per capita in Tanzania being just $900.

When the regulations were first proposed last year, critics argued the law violated individual privacy and freedom of speech. Many online content creators and activists also criticised the ambiguous wording of the new regulations, which could allow authorities to target publishers who criticise the government or cover topics that are unfavourable to the state.

Officials can also force administrators to remove any piece of content within 12 hours. Publishers who fail to comply could face a minimum of $2,210 in fines or a year in prison.

Widespread regulations

The regulations affect all individuals and organisation classed as online content creators in Tanzania – including online radio stations, podcast publishers, online forums and people using social media as a content publishing platform.

In order to get licensed, online content creators need to provide documentation that cites the financial details of their organisation, any directors and stakeholders involved, projected revenue and future plans for growth.

Featured image: Public domain.

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.