The new economics of Tanzanian blogging

Repressive regimes across the world have found inventive ways to stifle internet freedom, from deleting posts to blocking service. But Tanzania’s government has come up with a scheme that could prove even more draconian: it plans to charge hundreds of dollars a year for the privilege of blogging.

As part of new online regulations, bloggers will be required to pay hefty registration and annual licence fees that add up to roughly $920 — prohibitive for most in a country with a nominal per capita income of under $900.

In proportion to GDP, the Tanzanian registration and licence fee would be the equivalent of asking Americans to pay nearly $60,000 to start a blog.

That is from John Aglionby and David Pilling at the FT.


This follows the other African country of a month ago that charges for "WeGo" or some such service because it cuts into state-sponsored phone service. So either the tax is too high, or, as TC's post suggests, it's deliberately high to discourage blogging. Solution: subscribe to a Virtual Private Network with a server outside of Tanzania. True, it's burdensome and slows down traffic a bit.

Just to be clear: with the VPN workaround you would have to call your blog something like: "Tanzania blog by an expat" and in the About section say: "A Tanzanian posting about their country from outside of Tanzania" or some such centrifuge. The TZ authorities would never know if the founder of the blog was inside or outside the country.

Oh come on. How long would it take a reasonably intelligent person to work out who is blogging?

Most people just cannot resist talking about themselves. Especially if you prompt them a little. And that is assuming they are not a border line personality disorder waiting to go Postal because GMU fired them two generations ago.

LOL...maybe. But also the blogger can be smart and lie low. And are you talking about yourself or the dearime nym? I get the two confused ;)

A move in the right direction if a bit extreme. Overall the web, at least in the US, under taxed. An annual excise tax of say $10 per electronic messaging account (e-mail, twitter, facebook, etc.) would be a good first step towards sustainable government given the inability to control spending.

Yes, we need every possible avenue of taxation, especially with the arrival of autonomous autos

Everything and everyone is undertaxed according to the left. Tax soft drinks, tax breathing, tax blogging, tax the taxes. You get a tax, and you get a tax and everyone gets a tax. Surely if we tax enough the world will be a better place. Vote for the Democrats and higher taxes because they will give you free stuff.

Where have I heard that before... "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs"

Spending > Tax Revenue and deficit grows. Get that in balance rather than rail on taxes.

Surely if we stop spending more than tax revenue the world will be a better place. Vote for republicans and lower taxes because they will give you free stuff but not pay for it.

About time we had Common Sense Blog Control laws. No Amendment is absolute you know. The sort of people who oppose these sort of middle of the road, moderate, sensible reforms are all baby killers in the pay of the Big Free Speech Lobbies. They should be ashamed.

There was an intelligent point to be made about where we should draw the line on paying to exercise our freedoms. But before anyone could make it, you jumped in and wrote that instead.

Don't be absurd. There was no intelligent point to be made about paying to exercise our freedoms - and I notice you have still not made it. And my comment was about as good a response as anyone is likely to get. As can be seen from the rest of this article.

So what is your problem? You want gun control and are upset you are not getting it?

On the internet, no-one knows you're a Tanzanian.

Charging $0.50 to post a comment here at MR each time would do a lot to improve the quality.

How about a penny a word?

clockwork_prior would have to collect a lot more cans to afford to stay on here.

+1 Can we at least limit comments by the same person to say, 10 or 20 per post? You know, some common sense comment control...

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