Dar es Salaam. African bloggers have asked the Tanzanian government to revoke provisions of the Electronic and Postal Communications (EPOCA) Online Content Regulations, 2018.
They also call upon the regional integrations including; the African Union, the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to strongly urge the East African nation to reverse its decision.
A statement issued on Friday, June 15, 2018 signed by representatives from nine African countries say the regulations and other related online content laws undermine freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom.
“We consider it tragic and unfortunate that Tanzania has now decided to limit the same freedoms that the greater majority of Tanzanians and Africans historically value and have come to achieve,” reads the statement in part.
The statement was signed by representatives from Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Cameroon.
According to African bloggers, they are committed to the universal and continental rights of Africans to the rights of freedom of expression, access to information in tandem with the important rights of all to access the internet.
They condemn Tanzania for enacting a policy that require licensing and criminalizing the democratic work of bloggers and whistleblowers.
“Tanzania that is long considered as a beacon of freedom dating back from days of liberation struggles against colonialism through to being at the heart of the freedom solidarity under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU), is regrettably setting an undemocratic example to the rest of the continent,” reads another part of the statement.
Furthermore, bloggers said that was against globally valued tradition of African solidarity in pursuit of not only democracy, but also social and economic justice beyond its own borders and at great national sacrifice to its own people.
They therefore requested the regional integrations to ensure that the new policies enacted by Tanzania on the access and use of internet and its offshoot become more democratic not only to bloggers but also for every African citizen.
They also have filed an online petition against the situation in Tanzania targeting 100 signatures through: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Africa_AU_UN_In_Defence_of_African_Bloggers_Petition/?cWqxknb