Tanzania signed into law the Electronic and Postal Communications Regulations back in April, which gave directions like requiring bloggers to get licences for their online content and having steep fines for people who contravene the regulations.
However, the stakeholders fought back and they were granted a temporary injunction by the court that relieved them from the May 5th deadline to complete registration. The judge at the time ordered the Information Ministry and the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority not to enforce the deadline pending the hearing for the case.
Well, it is now being reported that the Tanzanian government has won the case against bloggers and activists who had sought to block the enforcement of the new rules. The appeal hearing overturned that injunction.
“Following this ruling..owners of social media platforms that are used to disseminate news such as blogs, online TV and radio are required to continue with the registration process and observe ethics outlined in the relevant regulations,” Hassan Abbasi, the governments spokesman said in a statement.
Apparently thanks to this new rules, several Tanzanian bloggers have already begun shutting down their website to avoid action being taken against them under the new rules.
The new regulations require bloggers to register their businesses and pay Tshs 2,100,000 (roughly KES 94,000 or $920) in fees which included an initial licence fee (Tsh 1,000,000), an application fee (Tshs 100,000) and a renewable licence fee (Tshs 1,000,000) after three years. Anyone who did not comply with the new regulations were subject to a fine of not less than Tshs 5,000,000 (roughly $2,200 or KES 223,000 at the time of writing) or a prison sentence of a minimum of a year or both.
In the region, we’ve also seen Uganda directing ISPs to block unauthorized news websites in the country.