Uganda takes on 'irresponsible' social media users
Published on 22nd September 2017
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has issued a fresh warning to social media users in the country to conduct themselves in a "responsible manner" at all times.
The regulator has expressed concern over what it describes as "the increasing use of social and electronic media to perpetrate illegalities like sectarianism, hate speech, inciting public violence and prejudice, pornographic content among others."
The UCC's view is that this content exposes the unsuspecting public to financial, social and emotional distress in addition to what it says are "serious national security concerns".
An excerpt from the UCC notice reads, "Whilst the Commission is happy about the innumerable benefits that the consumers and users of communications services are deriving from the emergence of social and electronic communications platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube amongst others the Commission is increasingly receiving complaints against offensive and illegal content that is sent, shared and/or otherwise broadcast through electronic communication platforms."
The UCC goes on to advise social and electronic communication platform users, account managers and administrators that they should restrain themselves and group members to avoid the risk of being investigated and/or prosecuted by the commission for aiding and abetting any offences that may result from social media posts.
Authorities have called on the general public to report all cases of abuse of social and electronic communication platforms to the police or to the UCC itself.
The regulator has been criticised for its approach to the governance of social media on several occasions in recent months including by global NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its 2017 World Report.
"On election day (in 2016), the Uganda Communications Commission, the telecommunications regulator, directed all telecom companies to block social media networks for 'security reasons'. The ban lasted five days," detailed HRW in its report of one of an instance where the UCC took steps to control use of social.