A Tanzanian website, described as the ‘Swahili WikiLeaks’, has shut down before new regulations come into force requiring online publishers to acquire licences and pay hefty amounts of money.
Jamii Forums said on Twitter in Swahili that it was “saddened that we are forced to take this sudden action, but we hope that as our users you will be patient during this period”.
Under the new regulations, which will come into effect on 15 June, Tanzanian bloggers and online publishers are required to pay an annual license fee of over $900. Those who will not pay face fines starting at $2,200 or one year behind bars.
Jamii Forums was established in 2006 as a Swahili-language whistleblowing and blogging site and has faced numerous court cases in the past.
To comply with the new orders, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has asked bloggers to provide a long list of details, including share capital, tax certificates and estimated investments.