Tanzanian High Court on Friday restrained the government from starting to regulate online content, which was to begin on Saturday.
Neville Meena, secretary of the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), said the court’s decision followed submissions made by six institutions on April 30 asking the court to restrain the government from making online content regulations.
Meena said in the main case the institutions have asked the court to review the regulations on grounds that the minister for information has used powers outside his authority and that the regulations violated principles of natural justice.
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According to him, the institutions are challenging the regulations as they contravened freedom of expression, the rights to be heard and the rights to privacy.
The main case is set for hearing on May 10.
On April 21, the Tanzanian government, through its communications watchdog, Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), issued a two-week deadline for all bloggers to register their platforms under tough new online content rules.
The regulations passed in March to enforce the Electronic and Postal Communications Act of 2010 made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums, including Youtube TV channels, to register their services and potentially pay up to 2.1 million shillings for registration and license fees.
The state-owned TCRA said in a statement that all online content providers are required to complete the application process before Saturday.
TCRA officially opened the registration process for blogs, online television stations, online radio and other online forums on April 27.
“Bloggers convicted of failure to comply with the new rules could face a fine of at least five million shillings or a prison sentence of a minimum of 12 months or both,” said the TCRA.
President John Magufuli ordered authorities to take legal action against anyone deemed to be “abusing” freedom of expression by posting misleading anti-government statements on social media.
The directive followed alleged misleading statements made by some opposition leaders on findings of the latest report by the Controller and Auditor General, with some figures accusing the government of looting from the 2016/17 budget.
The government has dismissed the allegations.
The number of internet users in Tanzania rose 16 per cent in 2017 to 23 million, with the majority of those using their mobile phone handsets to go online in the nation of around 52 million people.
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South Africa: Farmer bags life imprisonment for killing farmworker
A Western Cape farmer‚ Martin Visser‚ was sentenced to life imprisonment on Wednesday for the murder of a farmworker‚ Adam Pieterse.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the farmer‚ from Lutzville‚ was also sentenced to three years for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and six months for assault.
Visser allegedly beat Pieterse with a spade‚ dragged him with a quadbike and then buried him in 2015.
Ntabazalila said there was an “incident” earlier on Wednesday in the cells before Judge Nathan Erasmus sentenced Visser.
It was reported that Visser tried to commit suicide by hanging himself with his jacket.
Ntabazalila said: “An incident took place in the cell and the accused was taken to hospital but he is back now. Defence objected with the sentencing taking place. State objected to that‚ saying the accused was assessed in hospital and tests of concussion were negative. After that sentencing started.”
Ntabazalila added: “Judge Erasmus told the court that an incident took place in the cell. He did not mention what incident it was.”
Visser murdered Pieterse in 2015.
Zimbabwean man sneaks into hospital ward, makes love to sick wife
A Zimbabwean man is currently under investigation for forcing his way into a female ward at Masvingo Provincial Hospital at 3am to make love to his wife, who was admitted to the hospital.
The man, who is a prominent restaurant owner in the city was reported to have argued with the hospital nurses in the middle of the night and insisted he should be allowed to see his wife in the female ward.
He eventually got in and went on to have sex with his wife, in the presence of 10 other patients in the ward.
The Medical Director of the hospital, Amadeus Shamu, confirmed the incident to iHarare and said that the hospital has since instituted investigations.
Shamu said, “It was around 3am that patients who were disturbed by the noise coming from the ecstatic couple reported to the nurses that there was sex in the ward. The nurses summoned a security guard who got the man out of the ward.”
The investigation also revealed that the wife had told the nurses that her husband was abusive and she might be beaten if she refused to accept his sexual overtures.
“I could not refuse to have sex with him because I could have been beaten in the presence of patients because he is very violent,” the woman told the nurses.
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