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Human Rights Defenders Decry Censorship in Pre-election Period

Human Rights activists in Uganda have expressed concern over what they deem a violation of people’s right to speech as well as censorship during the pre- election period.

These noted that since the Electoral Commission in its revised road map declared that campaigns will be carried out scientifically on media platforms like radios, Televisions and Internet, government should have looked for means of making these platforms cheaper and accessible to all Ugandans.

Addressing press in Kampala, Sarah Bireete the Executive Director Centre for Constitutional Governance said during this time, government should have worked hand in hand with telecommunication companies to ensure that Ugandans are connected to faster and cheap internet.

The activists further called on the Uganda Communications Commission to suspend its recently published regulations to be followed by all operators of various communication platforms on the internet.

On 7th September 2020 UCC using its constitutional mandate issued a notice in which all persons providing online data communications, online Televisions, Online Radio, Online newspapers and others to regularize their operations by seeking authorization before using the said platforms.

Bireete adds that such notice requiring registration of social media platform operators and other internet users in this campaign period will deter many candidates from freely interacting with their electorates

Sophie Kyagulanyi a city lawyer and human rights defender says the increased number of regulations targeting internet users has affected many people’s access to internet

Bwowe Ivan who recently petitioned court over the same says that he will exhaust all the legal avenues available to ensure that freedom of expression is respected.

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“During this period nobody should sit behind when another person’s rights is being suffocated because tomorrow it may be you next.”

 

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