IGF 2018 WS #422
Local Content, Social Media Taxes and Online Content Fees


Sub-theme description: Affordability and local content

Organizer 1: Civil Society, African Group

Speaker 1: Juliet Nanfuka, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Wairagala Wakabi, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Ashnah Kalemera, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 4: Lillian Nalwoga, Civil Society, African Group


Flash Session - 30 Min


The proposed flash session will serve disseminate insights on the of taxing social media platforms/Over the-top services and hefty fees for local content creators in countries like Uganda and Tanzania with room for reactions from the audience at the end of the session.


In the flash session, we will include insights from diversity of individuals with a primary focus on women - both within and outside of the digital society.

This proposed flash session will serve to give the audience an overview of the impact that the taxation of social media based over-the-top platforms has on local content development, digital inclusion and affordability. The session will also include insights on the impact that fees-based online content regulation on local content production in developing countries.

The relationship between these financial based affronts to internet use and the development of local content, press freedom, civic participation and gender will be explored during the session.

The session will serve to create an awareness of the magnitude that these regulations have on the uptake of digital communications in developing countries.

The session will include a 20 minute visual presentation followed by 10 minutes for questions from the audience.

Within the half hour of the flash session we intent to take attendees through a highly visual interpretation of what the taxation of social media and the hefty fees for online content production mean for consumers of content from the countries affected by these regulations such as Uganda and Tanzania.

Actions such as network disruptions have received widespread condemnation while advocacy on the issue is increasingly supported by measurement tools and strong awareness campaigns. Meanwhile, the emerging trend of financial affronts (taxing social media platforms/Over-the-top services and hefty fees for local content creators) as a means to regulate or control freedom of expression and access to information online is one that should remain on the global internet governance agenda as in addition to affecting the aforementioned rights, it could have widespread impact on local content development and on civic participation tools that rely on these services. See: Uganda’s Social Media Tax Threatens Internet Access, Affordability (https://cipesa.org/2018/04/ugandas-social-media-tax-threatens-internet-…) and Tanzania Issues Regressive Online Content Regulations (https://cipesa.org/2018/04/tanzania-enacts-regressive-online-content-re…)

Further, the flash session at the IGF is opportune to share insights on these issues emerging from our annual Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica) - see: www.internetfreedom.africa. Every September, FIFAfrica convenes various stakeholders from the internet governance and online rights arenas in Africa and beyond to deliberate on gaps, concerns and opportunities for advancing privacy, access to information, free expression, non-discrimination and the free flow of information online.

Online Participation

In the lead up to the workshop we will share some reports, documents and reactions which we will have collected over the course of the year and through the annual Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa 2018.