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Tanzanian court stops govt from making online content regulations

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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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Motherland News

Ghanaian Woman Rescued By Christian Atsu Passes on.

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A 62-year-old prisoner, Mama Theresa, whose surgery bills were paid by Black Star midfielder, Christian Atsu, has passed on days after the operation, Ghanaian football portal, Ghanasoccernet, has reported.



Atsu has been embarking on some major philanthropic works in recent weeks, with the winger’s latest kind gesture being extended to the ailing woman.

Mama Theresa was serving a 10-year jail term for possessing marijuana but was in serious condition following the deterioration of her health.

The old woman, therefore, needed immediate access to healthcare but the prison system was unable to raise funds for an emergency surgery.

However, Atsu stepped in and offered to pay for the full cost of her surgery and recuperation after hearing of her predicaments.

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Unfortunately, the old lady passed on while she was being operated upon by doctors.

This comes after the Black Stars winger also saved a mother and her two daughters from going to jail for taking some leftover corn estimated at GH¢10 belonging to another.

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Crime

Ethiopian govt set to free over 1000 detained youth – Police.

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Ethiopian authorities will free over 1,100 young people arrested over violent protests in and around the capital Addis Ababa in September 2018.

Police chief Jemal Zeinu confirmed that out of the 1,204 youth were detained according to Amnesty International, arbitrarily 83 of them are to be put before courts on suspicion of committing crimes.



Zeinu in an interview with state-affiliated FBC disclosed that the soon-to-be released detainees had undergone a month-long training in the area of staying away from crimes and other related issues.

If the necessary logistic are fulfilled, they will be released on Thursday (October 18); or else, they will be freed latest by Saturday,” he added.

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Authorities added that those found to be without employment were to be engaged in various work sectors by organizing them in micro and small enterprise in collaboration with the city administration.

Violence that raged from Sept. 12-17 and included attacks on minorities in Ethiopia’s ethnic Oromo heartland outside Addis Ababa, was a blow to new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s efforts at reconciliation.

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“They must be either charged with a recognizable criminal offence or released. Those arrested for taking part in protests on the recent ethnic clashes must all be released immediately and unconditionally,” Joan Nyanyuki stressed.

Back in September police admitted the arrests and spoke about a rehabilitation process: “1,204 are in custody, but they are now being rehabilitated for a short period of time,” the police commission’s Degfie Bedi said.

The arrested included people suspected of holding “illegal rallies”, burglaries and other crimes, he added.

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