One of Africa’s top musicians – Diamond Platnumz – has been questioned by Tanzanian police after posting a video clip of himself playfully kissing a woman on Instagram, which authorities say is indecent.
It comes a few weeks after the award-winning “bongo flava” hip hop star threatened to leave the East African nation when his songs were included in list of more than 10 banned by the government for having sexually suggestive video images or lyrics.
What law is he accused of breaking?
Information Minister Harrison Mwakyembe told MPs the musician had fallen foul of the new Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, introduced a few weeks ago.
He said the authorities plan to file charges against Diamond Platnumz, who has since removed the offending Instagram post.
- Five things about Diamond Platnumz
- One of East Africa’s richest musicians
- Popularised “bongo flava”, Tanzanian hip hop
- Sold second-hand clothes before he found fame
- Recently launched his own TV and radio station
- 4.5 million followers on Instagram
If found guilty he could face a fine of at least five million Tanzanian shillings ($2,200; £1,500) or a prison sentence of a minimum of 12 months, or both.
Mr Mwakyembe said the government was also monitoring other artists who had been engaging in “decadent behaviour”, and warned they would be brought to justice irrespective of their popularity.
Apart from censoring obscene content, the legislation requires bloggers to pay a hefty registration fee of more than $900.
They must also fulfil a long list of other requirements, like submitting staff CVs, to qualify for a licence to operate.
Many activists, online content providers and ordinary users have accused the government of using these regulations to suppress freedom of expression.
But the government says they are to protect the nation’s “culture”.
- What’s behind the crackdown?
Since coming to power in 2015, President John Magufuli, nicknamed “The Bulldozer” , has taken a no-nonsense approach to running affairs – cracking down on corruption and government waste.
His authoritarian nature has won him fans, but critics have also accused him of trying to silence dissenting voices.
These online regulations follow the arrests of several people charged with “abusing” the president for criticising him on Facebook and WhatsApp.
A couple of respected newspapers have also been either suspended or banned indefinitely after publishing content that the authorities deemed would incite violence or did not “adhere to the principles of journalism”.