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  Paying a heavy price for repression...

Tanzania introduces an unviably steep tax on blogging


Link Here 13th April 2018
Tanzania flagBlogging has been popular in Tanzania for more than a decade, enabling writers and independent journalists to express views and report news that might not otherwise appear in mainstream media. But as of last month, this kind of work will come with a price tag.

On March 16, 2018, the United Republic of Tanzania issued the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations demanding that bloggers must register and pay over USD $900 per year to publish online.

Application 2. These Regulations shall apply to online content including: (a) application services licensees; (b) bloggers; (c) internet cafes; (d) online content hosts; (e) online forums; (f) online radio or television; (g) social media; (h) subscribers and users of online content; and (i) any other related online content.

The new regulations have far-reaching implications for freedom of expression and human rights. Bloggers must fill out official regulatory forms and avoid publishing prohibited content including nudity, hate speech, explicit sex acts, extreme violence, "content that causes annoyance" fake news, and "bad language" among other restrictions.

The new regulations grant unrestrained power to the Tanzanian Communications Regulatory Authority ( TCRA ) to prescribe and proscribe. Under Part II, Number 4, TCRA then has the authority:

(a) to keep register of bloggers, online forums, online radio and online television;
(b) to take action against non-compliance to these Regulations, including to order removal of prohibited content

iAfrikan News further explains :

Online content publishers (blogs, podcasts, videos) will apply for a license at a fee of 100,000 Tanzanian Shillings (44 USD) pay an initial license fee of 1,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings (440 USD) and an annual license fee of 1,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings (440 USD). This means to run something as simple as a personal blog (text) if you live in Tanzania, you'd have to spend an initial (approximately) $900 (USD) in license fees.

[A quick look at average salary figures on Wikipedia suggests that the average annual salary in Tanzania ia about 900,000 Tanzanian Shillings, so the licence fees are simply impossible for the majority of Tanzanians].

According to Tanzania Bloggers Network Secretary-General Krantz Mwantepele, as quoted in The Citizen, many Tanzanian bloggers cannot afford these fees because the "license applications and annual subscriptions are way beyond earnings of many bloggers."

What is clear is that breaches of the new law will be punishable with a fine of "not less than five million Tanzanian shillings" (around USD $2,500), or imprisonment for "not less than 12 months or both."

Blogging as alternative news in Tanzania

Blogging emerged in Tanzania around 2007 and became popular as an alternative news platform with educated, middle class people, as well as politicians and political parties.

In Tanzania, where media historically holds strong ties to government interests, blogging opened up possibilities for individuals to establish private news outlets that proved immensely powerful in terms of reach and readership.

Before the rise of mobile apps, access to a stable Internet connected and laptop were imperative for bloggers. This set a relatively high barrier to participation for people with limited income.

 

  Now you have to pay tax for the privilege of having your data exploited...

Uganda dreams up the idea to tax social media usage


Link Here 11th April 2018
Uganda flagThere is no shortage of hostility towards Facebook at the moment, as a result of recent revelations about their exploitation of user data and dissemination of supposed 'fake news'.

And the Ugandan Government has taken this to a whole new level and come up with a novel approach to try and steer Ugandan social media users away from US social media like Facebook and WhatsApp; a social media tax.

The social media tax proposal has been widely mocked by Ugandan internet users and experts, but it seems that the idea, which is thought to have emanated from the long-standing Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni himself, is destined to be implemented anyway.

His justification was that because social media apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp were developed overseas, Ugandan's are merely consumers of their services and profits from these apps are all being made overseas.

Information minister Frank Tumwebaze claimed that the Ugandan Government wanted to foster online innovation at home and claimed that by taxing these overseas services, Ugandan's would be encouraged to develop their own rival apps.

Exactly how the tax will work in practice is still unclear.

 

 Extract: But surely it is totally fair to hate someone that takes away free speech...

Nigeria considers making hate speech a capital offence


Link Here 15th March 2018

Nigeria flagThe Nigerian parliament is considering a bill under which anyone found guilty of hate speech that results in the death of another person shall die by hanging upon conviction.

The law also seeks the establishment of an Independent National Commission for Hate Speech, to enforce hate speech laws across the country, including jail terms and fines.

This is just the latest in a number of attempts to address what appears to be a rise in hate speech across Nigeria.

In a recent talk, titled, Hate Speech: Halting the Tide Before it is Too Late, the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, called for an organised war against hate speech.

Last year, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo likened hate speech to an act of terrorism.

[The government has] drawn a line against hate speech, he said. It will not be tolerated, it will be taken as an act of terrorism and all the consequences will follow.

...Read the full article from bbc.com

 

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