Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tanzania requires bloggers to register with the government for exorbitant fee

In Tanzania, if you use the Internet to post your writing, audio, or video, you must now register with the government for a license. It costs USD $930 per year, and the application form requests extensive financial information. The licensing requirement applies equally to individuals and media companies. The fee is an unattainable amount for most people, as the majority of those who work on farms, in restaurants, and in office support roles earn less than USD $1,500 per year (300,000 Tanzanian shillings per month).

In 2011, the income of the richest 20 percent was nearly 8 times that of the poorest 80 percent.

The registration fee would be about a week's income even for President Magufuli himself.

According to a government press release written in Swahili, the public registration process opened April 21. People who are already providing content are required to register by May 5. Everyone else is required to register before they begin publishing.

Publishing "content that causes annoyance...or leads to public disorder" is forbidden, and all Internet cafes must have surveillance cameras and request that their patrons show an identity card.

The new law, published March 16 of this year in English, is called the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, 2018.

Photo credit: Image of 1 Tanzanian shilling coin from Wikimedia Commons.

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