Janet Warns on Cyber Child Abuse

The Uganda Martyrs Church of Uganda Namugongo has started construction of a Martyrs Heritage Centre, salve estimated to cost thirty six billion shillings. It is intended to create a one stop International Tourist Centre in memory of the Christian Martyrs who were killed for their faith, symptoms during the reign of Kabaka Mwanga 11.

The idea to construct the Uganda Martyrs Museum Namugongo Church of Uganda was hatched by the Archbishop Emeritus Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo. The project started this year and will be implemented in phases.

As part of the effort to raise funds for the project, information pills a series of activities have been organized. A delegation led by Archbishop Emeritus Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo, met the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda to discuss support for the construction of the Museum at Namugongo. The meeting took place at the Premier’s office in Kampala. 

Archbishop Emeritus Nkoyoyo, who is also the Director Uganda Martyrs Museum Namugongo Church of Uganda, informed the Premier that a fundraising function had been proposed to take place in February 2015 at Hotel Africa. He therefore asked for government’s involvement in organizing the proposed fundraising drive.

The Prime Minister was also informed about the church land which was being encroached upon. ‘A total of 28 acres have so far been taken by encroachers’, Nkoyoyo said. He therefore called for government’s assistance to recover the lost land.

In responding to the issues raised by the Archbishop Emeritus, the Premier assured the delegation about Governments total support to raise the required funds to complete the Church project. ‘This project is very important to Government as the country prepares for the expected visit of the pope to Uganda. We shall work out a possible way forward to facilitate the construction projects currently going on at both the Catholic and Protestant Shrines in Namugongo’, the Premier said. He added that government will investigate the land encroachment challenge the Church was facing and to take the necessary action.

Nkoyoyo thanked the President for contributing a total of 500 million shillings which has partly facilitated the initial construction stage.

The First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs Janet Museveni has asked telecommunications regulator, this web Uganda Communications Communication (UCC), seek to launch a national awareness campaign on cyber security to educate children and parents on child online protection.


Janet Museveni was speaking at the closure of the two-day Africa Child Online Protection Summit at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort where she was the chief guest on Tuesday.

She said child online protection is important to both leaders and parents and needs to be addressed as matter of urgency.

“A very important and key player in this fight is, of course, the family – the parents, sisters, brothers and others in our homes who may themselves be active internet users. On access, things have changed profoundly in recent years such that internet pornography can be accessed anywhere and at any time,” said Janet.

She noted that though the internet has positively affected people in the area of education, facilitated online transactions and has also made available expert medical services through telemedicine, it has also had a negative impact on the innocence of children. “Our children are being directly exposed to online content that is detrimental to their young minds and we must move to regulate it and curtail its harmful effect,” she advised.

The First Lady said parents have been left out and many of them have no clue regarding the danger their children may be exposed to and that all stakeholders need to work together to prevent children from accessing pornography and to educate them about keeping safe online.

“I therefore request UCC to cause a national campaign or awareness drive to be launched in collaboration with the industry to bring this matter to the nation’s attention,” said Janet.

She added: “I would also like to suggest that we go even further and consider inclusion of this subject in the national curriculum requirements to teach children about online safety. This would mean giving young children sensible, age-appropriate education about what to expect on the internet,” said Janet.

She noted that there is need to teach children not just about how to stay safe online, but also how to behave on social media and over telephones with their friends.

“The reality is that we cannot deny children access to some of these communication devices, therefore we need, rather, to educate them concerning the dangers of access to bad material online. Ultimately, we should be able to make it absolutely clear to any offender that there is no such thing as a safe place on the internet to access child abuse material,” said Janet.

Mrs Janet Museveni also called for tight regulation of the internet just like other industries.

“I have nothing against the notion of open and free internet. But just as we regulate other industries, for example restricting children from viewing certain channels on our TV sets, going into bars or cinema houses, or from buying items meant for adults or having adult experiences, I believe we must also regulate the internet in order to protect our children,” she said.

She added that this is to ensure that there is a balance between freedom and responsibility, and “it is our responsibility to determine such parameters”.

Responding to Janet’s call, UCC Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi, said they are beginning the campaign next year.

“We are going to draw a national sensitization roadmap so that we begin the campaign early next year. Thirty percent of Uganda’s population uses internet which is about 11 million people. This is a significant audience that we should begin with to spread the gospel on cyber security,” said Mutabazi.

Mutabazi said the campaign will involve various stakeholders like teachers, parents, pupils and students, schools, opinion leaders and civil society organizations to make sure that the exercise is all inclusive.

Mutabazi said UCC has so far set up 1000 ICT laboratories in schools across the country and of these, 600 are connected to internet. He added that 2000 teachers are already equipped with ICT skills.

ICT minister, John Nasasira, said government has undertaken a number of initiatives on child online protection. This includes enactment of Computer Misuse Act, 2011 which criminalizes child pornography, cyber harassment, offensive communication, cyber stalking and cyber bullying.

“So we can say that we have done our bit in putting the legal framework in place. What is missing is widespread awareness among all stakeholders about the law as well as enforcement and technical mechanisms to combat this threat,” said Nasasira.

The summit, the first of its kind in Africa, was organized by International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for ICTs, to which Uganda is a member. It was attended by 185 participants from 21 countries and 11 International Organizations.

In 2008, ITU launched the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative as a multi-stakeholder effort within the Global Cyber security Agenda (GCA) framework.

The initiative brings together partners from all sectors of the global community to create a safe and empowering online experience for children around the world.

COP takes a holistic approach to promoting child online safety, developing strategies that span five key areas – legal measures, technical and procedural measures, organizational structures, capacity building and international cooperation.


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