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Tanzania's Increasing Control Of Internet Users Threatens Freedom Of Speech, Say Activists

On March 16, 2018, the government of Tanzania published a notice about new set of new regulations for Internet users. The regulations, namely, Electronic and Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2018, are aimed at censoring and controlling contents of material published online. By the regulations, Bloggers and other online publishers and platform owners are required to have a license. Also, holders of licenses will have to an annual fee amounting $930 to operate online.

The government of Tanzania says the new Internet regulations will enable it ensure online publishers do not create public disorder or threaten national security. As such, licenses of publishers deemed by the government to being doing so, will be revoked.

Notwithstanding, however, in the past couple of days both local and foreign activists have lambasted the new regulations as a threat to freedom of speech. In a country where the government is allegedly becoming increasingly dictatorial, and any view different from its own is often seen as a national security threat, the activists may be very correct indeed!

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