Tanzania orders unlicensed bloggers to shut down websites

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Tanzania’s government has ordered all unlicensed bloggers to shut down their websites following the introduction of new online publishing regulations.

The state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) on Monday warned it would take legal action against any unregistered sites still operating, which could result in a minimum of $2,200 in fines, imprisonment for at least 12 months, or both.

Popular sites shut down

The government’s order on Monday prompted a number of popular sites in Tanzania to shut down, including online discussion platform Janiiforums. The country’s new publishing regulations mean that owners of blogs, forums and other online publishing spaces must apply for a licence, which involves paying up to $900 per year.

The average income per capita in Tanzania is slightly lower than $900 per year and critics say the regulations are being used to stifle press freedoms in the country. However, the government insists the rules are designed to tackle hate speech and online crimes such as cyberbullying and pornography.

“All unregistered online content providers must be licensed before June 15. Starting from today June 11 until June 15, they are prohibited from posting any new content on their blogs, forums or online radios and televisions,” the TCRA said on Monday.

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.