Tanzania 2020 new Online Contents Regulations.

The government of Tanzania has issued new regulations to regulate online contents. These regulations have been issued as Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, 2020 government notice no. 538 of 17/7/2020. 

The Regulations apply to online content service providers (such as online TV, YouTube channels and etc), internet service providers(such as telecommunication companies), application services licensees (such as mobile apps which provide contents), online content users (anyone who users online content) and any other related online content.

The regulations are divided into main four parts and schedules.

The first part provide for preliminary provisions including definitions of some key terms and the application of the regulations.

The second part deals with licence requirement for online content service providers. It is an offence to provide online content without a licence, which can attract to a fine of not less than five million shillings or to imprisonment for a term of twelve months or to both. Licences are categorised into 4 categories; (i) licence for news and current affairs content (news, events and current affairs), (ii) licence for entertainment content (music, movies, series, plays, drama, comedy, sports) (iii) licence for education and religious content (religious and education information) and (iv) simulcasting licence (mainstream media broadcasting online).

The third part deals with obligations to online content service providers. The regulations provide dozen of obligations to online content service providers including to take into account trends and cultural sensitivities of the general public, to use moderating tools to filter prohibited content, to put  in place mechanisms to identify source of content and an obligation to use passwords. And for mainstream media with regional or district license are not allowed to simulcast via online. Internet cafe operators are required to have surveillance cameras to record all the activities in the cafe and put a user  register of all users of the internet service.

The fourth part enumerates general provisions including accountability of online content users (they are responsible and accountable for the information they post in an online forum, social media, blog and any other related media), complaint procedures (a person may file a complaint to an online content service provider in relation to any matter connected with prohibited content and the licensee shall, within twelve hours, resolve the complaint) and the revocation of the 2018 The Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations.

The schedules

The first schedule provides for a prescribed application form to be used by online content service providers to apply for licence. 

The second schedule provides for fees related to online content service licence.

The third schedule provides for 10 categories of prohibited contents, (i) Sexuality and Decency, (ii) Personal Privacy and Respect to Human Dignity, (iii) Public Security, Violence and National Safety, (iv)Criminal Activities and Illegal Trade Activities, (v) Healthy and Public Safety, (vi) Protection of Intellectual Property Rights, (vii) Respect to Religion and Personal Beliefs, (viii) Public Information that may cause public havoc and disorder, (ix) Use of bad languages and Disparaging Words and (x) False, Untrue, Misleading Content.

It is advised to be conversant with these regulations as they can attract strong punishment and liability when contravened.

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