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Lusaka — Zambia will tax phone calls made over the internet to protect traditional telecoms companies, the government said on Monday, a move activists warned would stifle freedom of expression. Increased popularity of internet telephony services such as Skype, WhatsApp and Viber "threatens the telecommunications industry and jobs in companies such as [operators] Zamtel, Airtel and MTN," government spokesperson Dora Siliya said in a statement. "Government has therefore introduced a 30 ngwee (about 43 South African cents) charge a day tariff on internet phone calls." The policy, which has yet to become law, follows Uganda’s recent decision to impose a 73c daily levy on social media sites including Facebook and Twitter which was met with protests by opponents. Siliya said that the fee would be collected by mobile phone operators and internet providers. While WhatsApp and similar apps offer end-to end encryption of calls, mobile phone carriers and internet providers can tell from the vo...

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