Tanzania, Pombe Magufuli sets 2-week deadline for bloggers

Tanzania’s communications regulator has issued a two-week deadline for bloggers to register their platforms . The regulations passed in March make it mandatory for bloggers and owners of other online forums such as Youtube TV channels to register with the government and pay up to $900 for a licence. All online content providers are required to complete the application process before 5 May 2018,” the state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) said in a statement posted on its website.

The registration process was opened on Saturday. Applicants are required to provide details of shareholders, share capital, citizenship of owners, staff qualification and training programmes, and a tax clearance certificate. Bloggers convicted of failure to comply with the new rules could be subject to a fine of at least 5 million shillings ($2,200) or a prison sentence of a minimum 12 months, or both. H.E President Magufuli on Friday ordered authorities to take legal action against anyone deemed to be “abusing” freedom of expression by posting misleading anti-government statements on social media. Last week, police briefly detained two musicians, including one of the country’s most popular singers, after they posted video clips that authorities deemed obscene.

The number of internet users in Tanzania rose 16 per cent in 2017 to 23 million, around 44 per cent of the population, with most using their smartphones to go online.