This Reference is the result of the passing of the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2020 (Online Content Regulations) by the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports of United Republic of Tanzania (the Minister) on 17th July 2020 and gazette through GN No. 538 2020. The Online Content Regulations, in their current form, impose unjustified restrictions on the right to freedom of expression which is a cornerstone of the principles of democracy, rule of law, accountability, transparency and good governance, which the government of Tanzania has committed to abide by, through the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (the Treaty) and other international legal instruments.
Center for Strategic Litigation, together with other like-minded organizations sought the intervention of the East African Court of Justice through the above noted reference to protect the provisions of the Treaty. It is argued that the provisions of the Online Content Regulations (2020) are in violation of Articles 6(d), 7(2) and 8(1) (c) of the EAC Treaty. Under the said Articles Tanzania has an obligation to uphold the fundamental principles of the Community, to uphold the Community’s operational principles and to abstain from any measures likely to jeopardize the achievement of those objectives or the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty.
The matter is still pending at the East African Court of Justice awaiting scheduling conference.