Tanzanian blogger faces jail term over manipulated photographic images

The Nairobi Chronicle reports that a Tanzanian blogger faces jail after publishing manipulated photographic images depicting Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete engaging in lewd sex acts.

According to Habari Leo , a Tanzanian newspaper[sw] the country’s police are seeking help from Interpol in tracing the owners and publishers of the blog.

Ze utamu (www.zeutamu.com), probably Tanzania's most controversial blog, came to the limelight by publishing a mixture of Tanzanian Diaspora gossip, nude and sex photographs of well known people as well as name-and-shaming articles. While it attracted many readers, the blog has also attracted criticism.

Some bloggers are of the opinion that the authorities did not care when posts about ordinary citizens were posted at ze utamu. A comment from a blog post at Watanzania Oslo blog that posted the Habari Leo article about the police hunt for ze utamu blog owners says:

Mtandao huu wa ze utamu umkuwepo kwa muda mrefu sana na watu wengi wasio na hatia (raia wa kawaida) wamedhalilishwa sana kupitia mtandao huo kwa picha zao kuwekwa bila ridhaa yao. nyingi ya hizo picha ni za utupu na hata zile ambazo siyo za utupu ziliwekwa bila ridhaa ya wahusika. hivi kuwekwa picha ya rais Kikwete ndo kile chombo kinachojifanya cha usalama kinakurupuka kuwasaka wenye mtandao? […]unafiki mkubwa na ufisadi aina nyingine huu. kudhalilishwa ni kudhalilishwa, ama iwe ni raia tu, kiongozi wa kawaida na hata rais.

Ze utamu has been around for a long time and many innocent people (average/normal citizens) have been shamed through this site when their photographs were posted without their consent. Most of them are nude photographs and even those that are not were posted without consent. Is it true that only by posting the president’s photos has prompted that institution that claims to be the security and regulatory body to jump and pretend to search for the site owners? […] this is hypocrisy, degrading people means degrading people, be they ordinary citizens, leaders or even the president.

That point was also raised by Happy Katabazi :

… wiki hii katika mtandao wa www.zeutamu.com mtandao ambao umejipambanua kwa ajili ya kupachika picha za utupu za watu wa kada zote na wanaotembelea mtandao huo huchangia mawazo yanayohusu maisha binafsi ya faragha za watu…
Na wakati mtandao huo ukiendelea kujipambanua mamlaka husika zimekuwa zikiukenulia meno mtandao huu hadi wiki hii ulipotundika picha ya kumdhalilisha rais wetu, ndipo mtandao huo umedhibitiwa kwani hivi sasa hata ukiufungua haufunguki.

… www.zeutamu.com site, a blog that has become popular by posting nude pictures of people from all walks of life while those who visit the site give opinions about people's private lives…
And while the site became more popular, authorities [have been done little] until this week when they posted a degrading photograph of our president, and now the site is under control, even when you click the page won't open.

During the heyday of ze utamu some bloggers started campaigns to stop the blog, like the Anti-utamu [sw].

As the police search continues and despite having many readers before its disappearance, bloggers and readers who have openly come out to support Ze Utamu owners can hardly be found – at least at the time of writing this post.


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