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OUTRAGE AS TANZANIA PASSES LAW THAT COULD IMPRISON BLOGGERS.
- Written by ibro

Bloggers, Internet users, journalists and activists in Tanzania are up in arms following a government directive that could land them in jail. In a directive issued on June 11, the Tanzanian government now wants all websites, blogs and online forums to register with the government by June 15.

Through parliamentary legislation in March 2018, the John Magufuli-led administration of Tanzania passed the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations Act, which would seek control over the Internet, social media and the content shared therein. This was met with a lot of criticism and opposition from people across the country who called for press freedom.

TANZANIA MEDIA LAW – REGISTER OR GO TO JAIL

As is provided in the new regulation, Internet users will now be stripped of their anonymity as websites will be required to have a mechanism of fully identifying all visitors. Cyber cafés will also be required to store user logs for one year. While trying to enforce these regulations, the Tanzania government, through the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), has directed all blogs and websites to register. Failing to comply attracts a fine of up to $2200, one year in jail or both.

The directive has caused a massive uproar and attracted the interest of press freedom activists such as the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The CPJ has called on the Tanzanian government to rescind these regulations and instead promote online media, journalism and press freedom.

“We urge authorities to scrap these problematic regulations and allow the free press to thrive online,” said CPJ through its Africa Coordinator Angela Quintal. The organization further sees the regulations as “retrogressive and erodes online media in Tanzania and beyond.”

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