Court sets hearing date for social media shutdown lawsuit.

Kampala, March 10th, 2017; High Court in Kampala has set May 22, 2017 as hearing date for an application in which Unwanted Witness-Uganda, is challenging the dual internet shutdown and social media blockage in February and May last year.

The decision by the presiding judge Waswa Basaza kick started what looks to be a hefty legal battle involving ten (10) respondents including the Attorney General, the chief legal advisor to government, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), the telecom regulator and eight telecom companies operating in Uganda.

Through its lawyers, Rwakafuzi & Co. Advocates, Unwanted witness argues that the dual internet shut down without set guidelines was not only illegal but a violation of citizens’ fundamental right to freedom of expression, speech and opinion.

However, court stayed the consideration of amicus curiae application by article 19 in which the international organization seeks to become a party to the main application. The stay follows an extension request by UCC, to enable the regulator ample time to scrutinize affidavits that had been submitted to court late by some respondents.

The judge therefore, gave them until March 17 to finish with whatever they think is requisite in moving the matter before the court and then set March30 as the date to deliver her ruling on amicus curiae application by article 19.