Tanzania drafts law policing online content

The Tanzanian government has drafted a law to police online media, citing a need to clamp down on moral decadence and endanger national security and cohesion among the various social and political groups in the country.

The new regulations, if passed into law, will give the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) sweeping powers to monitor all content providers, including bloggers.

The content providers will be held liable for all publications they post online, and will be punished for any material that “causes annoyance, threatens harm or evil, encourages or incites crime, or leads to public disorder.”

They will also be required to ensure their contents do not advocate what is broadly described as hate propaganda or threaten national security.

A fine of more than US$2,200 or a minimum of 12 months in jail is recommended as punishment for anyone who will be found guilty of flouting the rules proposed under the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, 2017.

The authority will also have the powers to deregister any content provider and block users deemed to have broken the rules.

TCRA director general James Kilaba on Monday announced that the proposed regulations have already been circulated to organizations and members of the public, to obtain their views.

“We will hold public forums in the coming week to share the draft document with stakeholders before the final set of rules are sent to the minister for signing and gazettement,” All Africa online publication reports Kilaba to say.