I hope you don’t mind me writing you a public letter like this. But it feels like the most appropriate way of saying what I want to say.
Because your decision to stop blogging has left me dejected. While I don’t always agree with what you say (I usually do), yours has been one of very few voices asking important but difficult questions. Those who find #UhuruWaKujieleza (freedom of speech) to be an annoyance (or, if we are charitable, an unaffordable luxury,) will be celebrating. We are all worse off as a result. Continue reading →
The recent arrest of digital media entrepreneur Maxence Melo of JamiiForums.com raises serious questions and concerns about freedom of speech, but one relatively minor aspect of the case has potentially serious implications for a lot of people.
Among the charges laid against Melo was “management of a domain not registered in Tanzania.” This took observers by surprise; even many close followers of media and technology issues in Tanzania were unaware that it is now apparently illegal to operate a website that does not use a dot-tz domain. The relevant laws have actually been in place since 2011, however, and the government posted a notice in the press last year calling on people to adhere to it.
But since it has now come to wider attention, it’s worth asking some questions. In particular, what exactly does the law say? And more pertinently, should you be concerned if you manage a domain other than something.tz? *
A court in Iringa today sentenced police officer Pacifius Simon to 15 years imprisonment for the manslaughter of journalist Daud Mwangosi in September 2012. In one sense, this brings the case to a close. But it is a very unsatisfactory ending. Continue reading →
The charts I have shared recently – last week on the Corruption Perceptions Index and this week on the Freedom House Freedom Rating – got me thinking: is there a correlation between corruption and freedom?
The chart below looks at data for each country in Africa that appears on both the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Freedom House Ratings. Each circle represents a country. Those further to the left are the countries with more perceived corruption, those to the right have less. The countries that are higher up on the chart have more freedom, lower have less freedom. Continue reading →
Tanzania’s freedom rating has dropped. The latest annual report by Freedom House on political rights and civil liberties around the world showed that Tanzania’s score dropped from 3.0 to 3.5. It’s may sound like only a small change, but the scale of these ratings only goes from 1 to 7. (1 is the most free, 7 is the least.) More significantly, it is the first time Tanzania’s rating has dropped for over 20 years.
This chart shows Tanzania’s rating for each year since 1994, just as multi-party democracy was being reintroduced. Continue reading →