Friday, May 4, 2018

Brief reprieve for Tanzania's bloggers as court halts restrictive new rules

 

By By Louis Kolumbia @Collouis1999 lkolumbia@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The High Court in Mtwara Zone has issued a temporary injunction preventing the use of new online content regulations, which were set to come into effect on May 5. 

The court's decision, read early Friday (May 4), comes in the wake of a petition challenging the legality of the new regulations which was filed by six institutions on April 20 this year. 

Listed petitioners include the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC), Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), Jamii Media, Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) and Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), according to TEF secretary Neville Meena.

“In the primary case, these institutions are asking the court to review (online) regulations," Meena told The Citizen's sister publication, Mwananchi early Friday. 

"We have lodged a case against the Minister for Information, Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) and the Attorney General."

Petitioners are asking the court to review these regulations on the basis of "ultra vires" - that is, the argument that the respective Minister acted outside his authority and that the new rules violate principles of natural justice. 

These regulations are a contravention of freedom of expression, the right to be heard and the right of privacy, according to TEF's Meena. 

The primary case will be heard on May 10. 

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