Yoweri Museveni
Yoweri Museveni, Uganda President / Image Courtesy
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The story of Uganda fighting pornography dates back to 2014 when the government passed the Anti-Pornography Law, which stated that anyone found guilty of the offence of pornography, they would be fined $3,000 or up to 10 years in prison or both.

This fight was taken a notch higher when in 2016, the government ordered for a “porn detecting machine” that was said to have the capability of detecting pornographic material, both current and deleted, on computers and phones. The machine, which was set to arrive sometime in September 2016, never saw the light of day but in August if 2017, the government was still insisted that it was on its way.

Well, one more year and it seems the government has decided to turn into a more realistic method of threatening ISPs to block any website with pornographic content. The Ugandan Communication Commission (UCC) has ordered ISPs and telcos to block a total of 17 websites that the government has identified to be streaming pornography into the country.

“The commission is in receipt of a list of Internet sites with pornographic content from the Pornography Control Committee. The committee has established that the list of the websites attached hereto is currently streaming pornography to Uganda in breach of section 13 of the Anti-Pornography Act, 2014,” said Godfrey Mutabazi, UCC Executive Director.

To ensure that ISPs and telcos play game with the directive, the UCC did not shy away from issuing stern warnings that if any of them did not block the said websites, they would face penalties.

This might not be a big deal to many but Uganda’s latest laws have already caused a dip in internet usage, with the introduction of social media tax which was preceded by mobile money taxation, all in a bid to bag the government more revenue. It will be interesting to watch how citizens react to this developments and whether this will be the blow that takes Uganda down on its knees with low internet penetration.

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