Tanzania: Government wins court case to implement online regulations


Tanzania’s government on Tuesday won a court case against bloggers and activists attempting to block new online publishing regulations.

The ruling means the government is free to impose the new regulations which demand bloggers and other online publishers to pay up to $900 per month in licensing fees and provide details about their organisation and financial backers.

Government wins court case

Earlier this month, a group of six human rights watchdogs, media firms and bloggers successfully applied for a temporary court injunction against the new regulations, pending a final decision on the matter.

This decision came on Tuesday when the courts ruled that Tanzania’s government is within its rights to impose the rules.

“Following this ruling … owners of social media platforms that are used to disseminate news such as blogs, online TV and radio are required to continue with the registration process and observe ethics outlined in the relevant regulations,” government spokesman Hassan Abbasi said in a statement.

The new regulations mean online content publishers – including bloggers – have to apply for a license, paying up to $900 in annual fees. Besides the licensing fee, publishers are also required to disclose information about shareholders, ownership, revenue, staff qualification and other information.

Publishers convicted of defying the new rules could be fined up to $2,200 or imprisoned for a minimum of 12 months, or both.

Critics say the regulations are simply being used to censor publishers amid growing discontent under President John Magufuli’s rule.

Featured image: By Len pel – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48312424


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.