World Tanzania's internet restrictions during election are 'despicable,' digital rights activist says

23:55  28 october  2020
23:55  28 october  2020 Source:   pri.org

As virus flares globally, new strategies target hot spots

  As virus flares globally, new strategies target hot spots NEW YORK (AP) — After entire nations were shut down during the first surge of the coronavirus earlier this year, some countries and U.S. states are trying more targeted measures as cases rise again around the world, especially in Europe and the Americas. New York’s new round of virus shutdowns zeroes in on individual neighborhoods, closing schools and businesses in hot spots measuring just a couple of square miles. Spanish officials limitedNew York’s new round of virus shutdowns zeroes in on individual neighborhoods, closing schools and businesses in hot spots measuring just a couple of square miles.

Internet users across Tanzania have reported some sites, including WhatsApp and Twitter, are being restricted as millions of people vote in the general election . He had reportedly said that Mr Magufuli was planning to rig the elections , but the commission said there were no such attempts.

Tanzania ’ s divisive president John Magufuli has said the economy is “more important than the threat posed by coronavirus”, adding that he wants to reopen the country for tourism despite warnings that Africa could face the next wave of the disease.

Tanzania has a history of free and fair elections, but now, as voters head to the polls to elect their next president, it's not so clear.

a group of people sitting at a table: Assistant election returning officers work at Chang'ombe primary school polling station in Dodoma, Tanzania, Oct. 28, 2020.  © Stringer/AP

Assistant election returning officers work at Chang'ombe primary school polling station in Dodoma, Tanzania, Oct. 28, 2020.

President John Magufuli, with the ruling Revolutionary party (CCM) is up for a second term. But the main opposition party leader, Tundu Lissu, with the Party for Democracy and Progress (Chadema), is giving him a fight. So much so that for months, the government has put restrictions on the opposition party.

Earlier this month, the ethics committee of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) suspended Lissu from campaigning for a week for using incendiary language.

How battleground states process mail ballots -- and why it may mean delayed results

  How battleground states process mail ballots -- and why it may mean delayed results More Americans are voting by mail this election than usual, due to the pandemic. But processing those ballots takes more time. Here's how it works in battleground states. Because of the pandemic, more voters are opting to cast their ballots by mail this year. While the expanded access and increased use of mail-in voting is good for voters, it does create hardships for already strained election officials in many states, including key battlegrounds.

During his primetime event hosted by TV network NBC in Miami, Florida, the president was asked about Federal election officials say there has been no evidence of widespread ballot fraud. But I want it to be an honest election , and so does everybody else." Mr Trump deflected other questions

However, there are reasons for optimism as a growing national consensus results in political opponents increasingly viewed as legitimate opposition rather than enemies. Still far from perfect, but at least Russia is moving in the right direction. In the US, but also the broader West, there has been a much

Related: Tanzania votes but 'widespread irregularities' are claimed

And Chadema says its party offices in Arusha, in northern Tanzania, were firebombed in August. Meanwhile, dozens of opposition parliamentary candidates were disqualified from running in the general elections for president and members of parliament on Oct. 28.

On the semi-autonomous island region of Zanzibar, the opposition ACT (Alliance for Change and Transparency) Wazalendo party accused police of opening fire Monday night after residents suspected soldiers of distributing premarked ballots to polling stations designated for advance voting and tried to stop them. Ten other people were seriously wounded, the party said.

Tanzania’s inspector general of police, Simon Sirro, denied any deaths.

The President Who’s Eroding Tanzania’s Tolerance Seeks New Term

  The President Who’s Eroding Tanzania’s Tolerance Seeks New Term John Magufuli has deployed a two-pronged approach to his bid for re-election: woo rural voters by pointing to all that he’s done for them, and curb free speech to stymie opposition parties. The 61-year-old Tanzanian president is seeking a second term in an unusually tight election Wednesday that has seen a resurgence of his opponents -- some of whom have joined forces -- despite a ban on their public rallies. Magufuli’s effort to stifle the opposition and other alleged voter irregularities have fueled concerns about the fairness of the ballot.

Many countries are reopening but some borders remain closed. Learn how COVID-19 restrictions may affect your travel. Get the latest information on how coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine and restrictions are affecting travelers around the world.

Right before the lockdown, we conducted a benchmark survey among a representative sample of the Belgian population. In that survey, we saw that 32% of the population could be classified as highly resilient (“green”).

The buildup to Election Day has also been marred by widespread internet outages and social media going dark.

Related: The 'economic sabotage' of shutdowns

Berhan Taye, the Africa policy manager at Access Now, a nonprofit digital rights organization, has been following the situation closely from Nairobi, Kenya. Taye speaks to The World's host Marco Werman about Tanzania and the wider trend of internet shutdowns in Africa, particularly during politically charged periods.

Marco Werman: What sort of shutdowns and censorship have you been seeing around this election in Tanzania?

Berhan Taye: So, for the past two days, we've seen social media platforms being blocked, particularly WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, to a certain extent. Numerous websites that are reporting on election fraud or election events are being blocked, numerous media websites are being blocked, as well — and attempts by the government to slow down internet connection, as well, were some of the things that we've seen in the past few days.

The global tug-of-war over the future of the internet

  The global tug-of-war over the future of the internet The world is entering a new, more intense era of fragmentation that is going to change the way the internet works. Here’s the TLDR to our field guide on the splinternet. Here’s Why 1⃣ We’re a long way from the early ambition and optimism of a truly global and open internet. 2⃣ Digital divides are growing. 3⃣ And geopolitical tensions are increasingly undermining the promise of the internet. 4⃣ Activists are fighting to ensure the internet remains open. 5⃣ But the future of the internet is also in our hands. The Details 1⃣ We’re a long way from the early ambition and optimism of a truly global and open internet.

Criminal Procedure: This course will cover regulation of law enforcement conduct during the investigation of crimes Andrea is most interested in criminal law and has helped advise defendants of their rights at her university law clinic. She is very studious and is aiming for a first-class law degree.

Ballotpedia is providing comprehensive coverage on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting America' s political and civic life. Our coverage includes how federal, state, and local governments are responding, and how those responses are influencing election rules and operations

Related: Shutting down social media actually fuels violence

Is it clear to you that the government in power in Tanzania, the incumbent President Magufuli, is behind all of these communication interruptions? And why are they doing it?

Yes. So, the incumbent has appointed the regulator, the [Tanzanian Communications Regulatory Authority, TCRA] and the regulator is the one that's doing this. So, the incumbent, technically, legally, is responsible for the censorship. And for the question of why, I think it's very important. Trying to install this a few days before the election really is a clear indication that the government is trying to censor and control the free flow of information. There were numerous targetings of activists, journalists, opposition groups — not just physical attacks, but also online attacks. We've seen so many attempts to take down certain websites, to take down certain Twitter accounts that are not in line with the government's narrative. So, the government is desperately, desperately trying to control information flow and censor.

US cites 'credible allegations' of fraud in Tanzania election

  US cites 'credible allegations' of fraud in Tanzania election The United States said on Thursday there were "serious doubts" about the credibility of Tanzania's presidential election while the leading opposition candidate urged countries not to recognize the results of a "travesty" of a poll.The US Embassy in the East African country said there had been "credible allegations of significant election-related fraud and intimidation" in Wednesday's poll in which voters were electing a president and lawmakers.

The Supreme Court determined that the right of the press to print classified material _. is partial, and the press may print classified material only if it does not compromise troops or covert operatives. The Federal Communications Commission oversees the programming of which entities?

One human rights activist was sentenced to two years in prison after posting a video criticizing the During election periods, the legislation will allow candidates to sue for the removal of contested The Israeli government banned the publication of anonymous internet advertising on any platform ahead

Related: Internet shutdowns don't work – but governments keep doing it

As I said earlier, Tanzania has a history of free and open, democratic elections. So, what changes have you seen during the Magufuli administration? Just in terms of internet freedoms and censorship?

Tanzania has drastically — within the past five years — deteriorated. So, the situation with online freedoms, for instance, bloggers have to register in Tanzania and pay about $900 in licensing fees. And they're only allowed to do that if the government or the regulator gives you a license. Or, if you have a YouTube channel, if you have a WordPress blog — the blog can even be about your natural hair and how you're taking care of it, or it can be about how you're critical of the government — you need to register and be provided with a license.

If you're going to an internet cafe to use the Wi-Fi or the internet, the cafe is forced to register all people that are coming into their shop and using the internet. You're forced to keep a surveillance camera for one year of everybody that has used the internet in your facility. So, you know, it's just been many, many, many issues of censorship, restriction of journalists, freedom of expression in the country. So, the government, in the past five years, was building up to this moment. It's not surprising that this is all happening and the government is trying to do this on the day of the election. And you can only expect what will happen when the results are announced.

Tanzania: the opposition calls for contesting the elections in the street and demands a new vote

 Tanzania: the opposition calls for contesting the elections in the street and demands a new vote © MARCO LONGARI Supporters of the CCM, the ruling party in Tanzania, celebrate the victory of their presidential candidate for the Tanzanian archipelago in the suburbs of Stone Town, October 30, 2020 The Tanzanian opposition on Saturday called on its supporters to take to the streets to contest the overwhelming re-election of President John Magufuli and the unchallenged victory in the legislative elections of his party and obtain the organization of a new vote, judging the first fraudulent.

We've also seen reports of internet outages in other elections in Africa recently — Guinea and Togo, in West Africa, to name two. Is this a trend you're seeing? And are you worried about what this means for other forthcoming elections in Uganda and Kenya, other countries?

Yeah, definitely. So, I want to be clear that the situation in Tanzania is very different from what we're seeing in Guinea and Togo. Guinea and Togo have never been democratic countries and they're not. But Tanzania used to be. So ... when we had the last election, we were not expecting an internet shutdown. Tanzania used to be a democratic country and where we are now is really insane and it's really despicable.

But ... now, if you look at the African continent, there have been numerous internet shutdowns during just even this year in Togo, Guinea, as you said, Burundi, and many more countries have shut down the internet. One thing that's really concerning here is that the internet is, in many ways, the tool that opposition groups, activists, journalists have to source information, to be able to express themselves and campaign. So, the fact that this is being restricted, especially on Election Day, is really tainting the democratic space on the African continent. So, that is quite concerning.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. AP and Reuters contributed to this report.

Presidential election, Senate and House races, Supreme Court: 5 things to know Wednesday .
We're standing by for key election results, the Supreme Court faces a major test and more news you need to know Wednesday.Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

usr: 5
This is interesting!