Maxence M. Melo
Maxence Melo was born in May, 1976 in Kantare village at Kagera region in Tanzania. He is co-founder and co-owner of Jamii Media Limited which runs the whistleblower website Jamii Forums.
Melo holds a Full Technician Certificate (FTC) from Dar es Salaam Institute of Tecchnology (DIT) and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engeneering from the same institution, he hasn’t been wholeheartedly working in his IT profession. Upon completion his studies, he worked for CSI Company, a construction company, before he co-founded Jamii Forums. Maxence Melo is also a digital activist who promote freedom of expression, digital security and freedom of information and he is not a member of any political party in Tanzania.
His partner and co-founder Mike Mushi is on board of Jamii Forum since he was only 16 years old. He started managing the platform right after completing Green Acres Primary school in 2003. Mushi is currently the Director as well as Head of Business Partnership and Marketing at Jamii Media. He persued a Bachelor degree in Business Administration with Information Technology at LearnIT from 2010 to 2013.
The main aim of of establishing Jamii Forums is to create a platform in which Tanzanian society could engage in free discussions about various emerging issus such as social, political and economic issues. Since its establishment, Jamii media has been experiencing pressures and threats from varius people incuding politicians and Government officials. In February 2008, Melo and Mushi were arrested by the police for an interrogation on suspicion of criminal activity, however, nothing was found to back that allegation.
In December 2016, Melo and Mushi were arraigned before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court and charged together with criminal offences of 1) managing a domain that is not registered in Tanzania contrary to Electronic and Postal Communication Act of 2010 and 2) offence of obstructing investigation on sensitive information published by user member (Whistleblower) on Jamii Website contrary to section 22(2) of Cyber Crimes Act of 2015.
However, in June 2018, they were acquitted by Magistrate’s court at Kisutu on one case after the court found that, they have no case to answer for the alleged offence of obstructing Investigations in contravention of Cyber Crimes Act, 2015. And to date (October, 2018) they have remain charged with two case which is still on Prosecution Witnesses hearing.
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