Popular Tanzanian musician, Diamond Platinumz is reportedly in police custody for posting an "immoral content" on social media. This information was revealed by Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe, the Tanzanian Minister of Information, Arts, Culture and Sports today.
Nasir Abdul, popularly known as Diamond Platinumz was reportedly arrested for violating the newly passed Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Act.
Through the law, the Tanzanian government aims to curb the moral decadence caused by social media and regulate activities of online content providers in Tanzania including bloggers.
In the law signed last month, online content providers are required to operate according to rules set by the Tanzanian Communications Regulations Authority (TCRA). They are also required to apply for licences and pay annual regulatory fees. The law also prescibes a punishment for posters of indecent content on social media and it appears that the government is using Diamond Platinumz as a scapegoat.
The Tanzanian government is not the first in Africa to regulate the digital space. Several African countries including Ethiopia, South Africa and Gabon have in the past shut down or restricted the internet in order to "curb fake news" and in many cases, for political reasons.
In 2015, the Nigerian senate proposed an anti-social media bill to regulate the use of social media in Nigeria. Following outcries by Nigerians, the bill was eventually dropped.
However, the case of Diamond Platinum's alleged arrest is a first. People have been arrested for inciting political unrest on social media but never for posting decadent content. It is obvious that the Tanzanian government really means business with keeping the country's social media space clean.