Proposed Netflix tax divides Zambia

A proposal by Zambia’s government to impose tax on the video streaming service Netflix, caused public outcry over the weekend in Zambia. 

The government has said it is concerned that while mainstream international broadcast companies pay taxes, online companies like Netflix broadcast their content for free. Last year the information ministry announced a new tariff on calls made on social media apps, but it was not implemented. 

The proposal was initiated as a result of the government wanting to level the playing field to protect local content. They are very keen to look at ways where companies like Netflix should also start playing broadcasting levy which we call television levy because other television companies are already doing that. 

HH took to twitter on Friday disagreeing with the government’s decision, stating “Our people already pay tax through the data bundles they buy. There is no need to tax NETFLIX. Give our people a break.” Mr Hichilema’s stance drew a sharp reaction from the Minister of Information,

Though most Zambians are used to watching payed television and free-to-air TV, online platforms such as Netflix are slowly gaining popularity among people with access to good internet connection. 

The motivation behind the government’s decision to put forward the proposal has also been deemed by many as a move of fear, following their loss on control over state run tv as more households turn to online streaming services as internet connection around the country improves. 

This is just quite clearly another attempt by President Lungu’s government to suppress the freedoms of Zambian citizens.

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