Tanzania has taken online media control up a notch with the introduction of a bill that contains strict regulations for online content producers including social media users and bloggers.
The Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2017 recently passed by parliament will be enforced by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) after approval by the information minister.
The bill recommends a fine of 5 million Tanzanian Shillings ($2,300), a minimum of 12 months in jail or both for those found guilty of violating the regulations.
According to the regulations, social media users and online content producers will be held liable for materials deemed “indecent, obscene, hate speech, extreme violence or material that will offend or incite others, cause annoyance, threaten harm or evil, encourage or incite crime, or lead to public disorder.”
Also, those who publish information that broadly portrays “hate propaganda, threaten national security or spark a health crisis, racial tension or violence, touching on possible terror attacks” will attract punishment.
Individual social media users will also be held solely 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”.
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.”