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.
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.
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.