A few years ago African countries dreamt up a new, and quite onerous, tax on viewing blogs and social media. The government considered it a good way to raise money -- and to muzzle inconvenient voices.
A year later, Techdirt was reporting on a
sudden boom in VPN use among Ugandans keen to avoid the tax. The authorities turned to pressuring ISPs to ban the use of VPNs.
Inevitably after three years, the tax has failed. It has neither helped the government raise significant revenue nor
curtailed lively online discussions by young Ugandans.
So the Ugandan government has come up with a pan B. On April 29, the government replaced the social media tax with a 12% excise duty on internet data that will likely hike the cost of internet
access in the landlocked country that already has some of the highest and most unaffordable internet costs in the region.