Tanzania: Jamii Forum Founder Uncovered His Determination To Close Site

The founder of Jamii Forum, a whistleblowing gathering, Mr Maxence Melo, has uncovered the explanation for his association choice to close down its site.

Mr Melo, who has had a few issues with the legislature as of late, said they have chosen to close down the discussion on the grounds that the Electronic and Postal Communication Regulations don’t oblige specialist organizations.

Addressing The Citizen in a phone talk with, Mr Melo, denounced the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) of focusing on shriek blowers’ discussions when drafting controls.

The online content regulations require bloggers and forums operators to register with the TCRA to ensure that comments submitted by blog readers, forum users are moderated be-fore they are published. They are also required to identify the source of content.

“We have been targeted because our forum is a service provider and not content provider, so we have decided to shut it down because we don’t’ fit anywhere (in the online content regulations),” said Mr Melo.

The TCRA gave online services providers until yesterday to register with the authority in accordance with the regulations.

Reached for comment, the TCRA acting public relations manager, Mr Semu Mwakanjala, played down the allegations.

“What we are doing now is to register all online content providers… we haven’t closed any of them,” said Mr Mwakanjala when reached by The Citizen’s sister paper Mwananchi.

Jamii Forum posted on their site saying that because they have not been registered, they could no longer offer services, until the matter was resolved.

“It is obvious that our platform was being targeted when this regulation was formulated,” Mr Melo. In 2016, Jamii Forum founders were arraigned for declining to reveal identities of some of the users of their platform. The case is still ongoing.


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