Authorities force unregistered blogs and online platforms to shut down


On 11th June 2018, the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) ordered all unregistered blogs and online forums to suspend their websites' functionality and banned them from publishing new online content without the required licenses. The deadline for registering blogs, online forums and online TV and radio has been set for 15th June. As reported previously on the Monitor, the the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations Law of 2018 came into force in March 2018 and seeks to regulate content published online, thereby impacting bloggers, radio and TV stations streaming online, and other online platforms. These media are now required to apply for a license before publishing content and must also pay an annual fee of up to 900 USD. Failing to comply with the new regulations could lead to criminal prosecution, including a fine of five million shillings (2,180 USD) and/or a one-year prison sentence. As a result of these new, restrictive regulations, the popular online platform Jamii Forums was forced to shut down temporarily on 11th June. 

TCRA's move follows a ruling by the High Court on 29th May upholding the restrictive law in favour of the government after six human rights organisations, media organisations and bloggers challenged the law in court, saying its provisions violate freedom of expression and compromise users' right to privacy.