Tanzania orders the shut down of unlicensed blogs and forums

Tanzania has warned unregistered bloggers and operators of online forums that they must shut down their websites or face criminal prosecution, Reuters reported.

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) passed regulations in March 2018 compelling those who publish content online – including bloggers and operators of YouTube channels – to register with the government.

According to the report, the TCRA is a state-run entity.

To apply for a licence, you must pay an application fee of 100,000 Tanzanian shillings (R578). You must then pay an initial licence fee of 1 million shillings (R5,780), and an annual license fee of another 1 million shillings.

This initial cost is greater than Tanzania’s average per capita income, which is under 1.9 million shillings per year.

Anyone in contravention of the new regulations faces a fine of at least 5 million shillings, imprisonment for a minimum of 12 months, or both.

Activists have said the government of President John Magufuli is cracking down on dissent and free speech under the pretence of tackling hate speech and other online crimes, including cyberbullying and pornography.

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Tanzania orders the shut down of unlicensed blogs and forums