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East Africa’s new war on Internet expression

Imagine paying over $900 to a government agency just to be allowed to blog. This is what the government of Tanzania wants to require of its citizens. The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority has given all online content providers until May 5 to submit massive amounts of documentation to earn state approval for what the Internet has always given for free.

Uganda’s latest Internet innovation is a plan to tax social media users, supposedly in order to curtail gossip on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. This is not just about raising more taxes for a cash-strapped administration; it effectively limits the “opinions, prejudices, insults and friendly chats” that the president railed against in his letter.

Kenya has said it would never shut down the Internet during elections. Thus nobody saw it coming when this year it closed four TV stations under the guise of national security. A government that had styled itself as respectful of the rule of law blatantly ignored court orders for a week and deprived nearly a third of the TV-viewing public of independent reporting.

Full article: The Washington Post

 

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