Tanzania wants bloggers to register!

Bloggers, and other online publishers, need to register themselves with the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority and get a license. The rule to this effect came into force on 15th June 2019. It revives the rule earlier passed but could not come into effect due to a court case.

Blogging tax: is it a ploy to gag freedom of expression?

The requirements for obtaining license include financial and tax documents and personal information.

Controlling freedom of speech on internet

The fee is exorbitant, and at $920 a year it equals the annual income of an average Tanzanian. The penalty for posting inappropriate content - that includes content with criminality or that can endanger national security and interestingly "that causes public annoyance" - is $2180 fine, which could come with a prison term of up to one year.

Critics and champions of freedom of expression say, the steep fee and penalty will virtually wipe out online activity by citizens, thus amounting to gagging free speech that makes internet such a special place. The direct losers will of course be individual bloggers and other online publishers, but it is the country and its polity that will bear an irreparable loss.