Uganda Communication’s Commission (UCC) has directed Internet Service Providers to block unauthorized news websites in the country.
From a couple of screenshots shared on Twitter, Mr Albert Mucunguzi shared what looks like a letter from the commission to Internet Service Providers that directs them on how to handle this directive.
“Reference is made to the above subject matter and a public noticed issued by the Uganda Communications Commission on the 6th March 2018 requiring all Online Data Communication Service Providers (online newspaper service providers) to apply and obtain authorization from the Commission,” the letter says.
The letter also adds a table of various online newspapers and whether they have been authorized or not. There are 14 media outlets listed and only 2 were authorized while the rest had an “application in process” status.
“The purpose of this letter therefore is to DIRECT you to IMMEDIATELY SUSPEND the provision of carriage services to any Online Data communication service provider (online/Electronic Media News provider) that is not listed above and/or has not presented an authorization certificate or other express clearance from the Uganda Communications Commission,” the letter stipulated.
This form of censorship could mean that in order for a person or company with an online news network, they would have to register with the UCC to be cleared to post content in the country.
This directive follows what we saw earlier where we saw Uganda was planning to slap a daily tax on social media users. We have also seen the country ban access to social media to its citizens during the elections, which resulted in people using VPNs to give an account of the events.