Tanzania: Government to regulate social media

Social media bill
Tanzania to regulate social media.
Social media bill
Tanzania to regulate social media.

Social media users in Tanzania who break the new law set by the government will be blocked by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA). The government drafted regulations for online content producers and users on social media. The TCRA published the draft Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, 2017, and the bill will come into force once signed by the information minister.

The new bill contains strict regulations for online content producers including social media users and bloggers. Offenders will be charged a fine of 5 million Tanzanian Shillings ($2,300), a minimum of 12 months in jail or both. The users will be held liable for posting content deemed “indecent, obscene, hate speech, extreme violence or material that will offend or incite others, cause annoyance, threaten, or encourage or incite crime, or lead to public disorder, according to the law.

Those who publish information that broadly portrays “hate propaganda, threatens national security or sparks a health crisis, racial tension or violence, touching on possible terror attacks” will face punishment… as stated by the regulation.

Individual social media users will also be held responsible for the content they share while online service providers “will be required to install user manuals and record proceedings of their business around the clock by installing CCTV cameras in and out of the premises,” as revealed by the regulation.

For online radio, TV and other digital platforms including bloggers and website managers, “they will need to apply for registration from TCRA once the regulations officially come into force,” according to the regulation.

They are also required to ban anonymous users from their platforms and “fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies as required,” the regulations said.

According to The Citizen, TCRA Director General James Kilaba said the regulations will check immoral use of online and social media content as well as content that can endanger national security.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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