New TCRA internet use rules stirs up hot debate

By Louis Kolumbia @Collouis1999

Dar es Salaam. Recently revised internet use rules have stirred up a pointy debate among the many public, some feeling that authorities have additional tightened the noose on free speech and particular person liberties as enshrined within the Constitution.

Signed and gazetted by Information minister, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, final month, the brand new rules have simply been made public and elicited response amongst netizens who’re a few of these focused by the rules.

Accordingly, on-line content material service suppliers on leisure, training and spiritual points at the moment are amongst classes that ought to safe an operational licence from authorities. The Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2020, even have outlined 10 prohibited contents, a few of which critics shortly claimed was meant to gag the general public because the nation heads towards the October 28, General Election.

Some of the provisions, they claimed, would now make it unlawful for members of the general public to rally campaigns on-line round a difficulty with out approval by authorities .

The prohibitions are round areas reminiscent of sexuality and decency, private privateness and human dignity, public safety, violence and nationwide security in addition to legal and unlawful commerce actions. Others are well being and public security, safety of mental property rights, respect to faith and private beliefs, public info that will trigger havoc and dysfunction, use of foul language and disparaging phrases in addition to false, unfaithful and deceptive content material.

The rules have been revealed on July 17, 2020 below the Government Notice No.538, outlining that licenses ought to be utilized by all on-line content material service suppliers on leisure points protecting music, films, collection, performs, dramas, comedy, sports activities and every other associated content material. This signifies that any particular person wishing or presently concerned in content material publishing on-line that falls in all of the acknowledged classes should be licenced or prohibited to take action.


A violation to those rules would earn one a wonderful of not lower than 5 tens of millions shillings or imprisonment for a time period of 12 months or each.

It prohibits importing content material on social media that promote playing and related actions like betting and lottery. It additionally prohibits publications of content material that “call for motives, promotes or provokes non-compliance to the law and regulations,” in what netizens linked to latest ‘protest’ campaigns on-line. “Contents that are involved in planning, organizing, promoting and calling for demonstrations, marches or the like that would lead to public disorder are prohibited,” reads the rules partially.

Contents that may threaten the safety of the nation or have an effect on public order, those who embody information of official confidential communications or navy affairs in addition to the content material that may hurt the nation’s forex or result in confusion concerning the financial situation of the nation are additionally prohibited. Users identified that this generalisation would go away the room open for TCRA to crackdown on harmless internet customers.

Marketing of sure items on-line, particularly these not licenced would additionally entice punishment. These contain issues reminiscent of well being institutions, medical and pharmaceutical practices, medicines and medical merchandise, dietary dietary supplements, weight reduction and improve merchandise in addition to unlicensed beauty tablets and lotions. A brand new provision would now make it unlawful for instance to put up content material on illnesses reminiscent of Civid-19 or every other pandemic. It learn says it prohibits publication of content material with info relating to the outbreak of lethal or contagious illnesses within the nation or elsewhere with out approval of respective authorities.

False, unfaithful and deceptive info that will mislead or deceive the general public until clearly pre-stated are prohibited.

Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, TCRA head of licencing Andrew Kisaka stated the brand new rules are supposed to improve compliance. He stated the categorisation has lumped collectively a number of the content material suppliers earlier not captured. He stated training and spiritual on-line content material service suppliers may have their payment licences lower by 50 per cent as a result of their nature of labor and contribution. “New regulations also have outlined and described prohibited issues in order to increase citizen’s awareness and increase compliance,” he provided, including Kiswahili model was virtually prepared.

“Regulations also address service provider’s concern that they were charged to pay heavy penalties due to noncompliance, something that will now be taken care of by the ethics committee.” Earlier, the manager director of Jamii Forums and Digital Rights advocate Maxence Melo stated stakeholders weren’t concerned.

“How can network users ranging between 25 million and 27 million be denied involvement,”he stated. “Releasing the document before the elections is equestionable.” Advocate Jebra Kambole stated the brand new rules criminalised all Tanzanians try at free speech and that they have been all supposed to hunt licences from authorities.

“The regulations also kill creativity and innovation as Sh1 million has to be paid by graduates in order to enjoy and execute social media related activities related to their professions,” he stated.

According to him, Article 18 and Article 13 (6)(a) of the nation’s Constitution that promotes freedom of data and a good trial are denied by new rules.

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