Tanzanian govt orders bloggers to register in two weeks

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Tanzanian bloggers now have a two week deadline for to register their platforms under tough new online content rules imposed by the government.

The online content regulations, passed in March, made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums, to register their services and potentially pay up to 2.1 million Tanzanian shillings (about 924 U.S. dollars) for registration and license fees.

In a statement, the state-owned Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) now says that all online content providers are required to complete their application process before May 5.

TCRA opened the registration process for blogs, online television stations, online radio and other online forums on Saturday.

According to TCRA, applicants are required to provide documents, including details of shareholders, share capital, citizenship of owners, a tax clearance certificate and staff qualification and training programs.

“Bloggers convicted of failure to comply with the new rules could face a fine of at least 5 million shillings or a prison sentence of a minimum of 12 months or both.

President John Magufuli on Friday ordered authorities to take legal actions against anyone posting misleading anti-government statements on social media.

The number of internet users in Tanzania rose 16 percent in 2017 to 23 million, with the majority of those using their mobile phones to go online in the nation of around 52 million people.