The Tanzanian government has banned organising or supporting any form of demonstration online and the sharing of information about an infectious disease outbreak without permission has also been outlawed.
According to BBC World Service’s African editor Will Rose, activists in Tanzania say new rules that restrict online content are infringing on people’s freedom of expression. Said, Ross:
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Under the new legislation, organising, planning or even supporting any form of demonstration online is now illegal.
The new rules have also banned the sharing of information about an infectious disease outbreak without government permission.
The Tanzanian authorities have removed rules governing hate speech on the basis of sexuality and gender.
Correspondents say the new rules also make it possible for people to be prosecuted for what they write on a shared instant messaging platform, such as a WhatsApp group.
Since becoming president in 2015, Tanzania’s John Magufuli has launched a cracked down on the media, civil society organisations and individuals critical of the government.
In June Magufuli declared the East African country “COVID-19 free”. He attributed the claimed success over the worldwide pandemic to prayers and fasting that the people of Tanzania had offered to God.
At the time of the announcement, Tanzania had 509 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 21 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.