Tanzania Shuts Down Jamii Forum Over Tough New Rules

Giving this award to Melo also shines a light on the worrying trend in sub-Saharan Africa of governments using overly broad cybercrime laws to crack down on free speech online, says CPJ.

A popular Tanzanian blogging site, Jamii Forums, has shut down following government enforcement of harsh new online content regulations.

The regulator, Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), has disallowed publishing of online content without the necessary licences effective Monday June 11.

Bloggers have until June 15 to acquire licences, TCRA has said.

The rules require bloggers and online TV and radio to register their platforms, obtain a tax clearance certificate, and pay licence fees of up to $900.

They are also required to reveal details of their shareholders, citizenship of owners and share capital.

Digital activists and human rights watchdogs' quest to block the implementation of the regulations fell through two weeks ago after they lost a court case challenging the government on what they termed as a crackdown on free speech.

Most bloggers in Tanzania are individuals without registered companies, making it difficult for them to meet the new regulations.

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