Tanzania introduces $930 fee for bloggers,compulsory phone passwords

Failure to have a phone password will attract a fine of over Sh200,000 or 12 months imprisonment

In the legislation known as the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2018, bloggers will be required to pay the annual fee and register before securing accreditation to publish material.

The new law also sets out a series of prohibited content, including "content that causes annoyance... or leads to public disorder."

Similarly, Tanzanians operating online radio stations and video (TV) websites will be required to apply for a licence, pay a licence fee upon registration as well as annual fees.

Compulsory phone passwords

Those with mobile devices will be required to have a password (PIN) for locking their phones with defaulters facing a fine of 5 million Tanzanian Shillings (approximately $2,000; Ksh221,630) or 12 months imprisonment, or both.

Additionally, internet cafes are required to install surveillance cameras. Breaking these stipulations permits the regulatory authorities to revoke licenses.

The annual Sh93,000 fee would likely be exorbitant for an independent blogger in a country where the gross national income per capita is just Sh90,000 ($900).

Moral decadence

Internet rights activists argue the new laws restrict freedoms.

Tanzania has for the past few years introduced a series of controversial laws which are widely considered to be tools used to suppress media critical of the government.

The government has however maintained that the new regulations will help to put a stop to the “moral decadence” cause by social media and internet in the country.

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