News Brief: UCC tightens social media censorship as Uganda registers first case of COVID19.

Kampala, March 23rd, 2020; After registering a COVID- 19 case in Uganda, the country’s telecommunications regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has tightened social media censorship by arresting a social media user on allegations of circulating fake information regarding COVID- 19 pandemic. A male Ugandan whose particulars are yet to be established is kept in unknown location as UCC continues to hunt for other internet users.

The arrest follows a public notice issued via social media by the regulator yesterday warning of punitive actions against any Ugandan spreading fake news, videos, and advice through digital platforms.

“UCC takes exception to this criminality and wishes to advise that any persons found to be engaging in creating, initiating the transmission of, circulating and/or forwarding fake stories and misinformation using communication facilities, services or applications shall be apprehended and prosecuted for offending the Computer Misuse Act, 2011, the Data Protection and Privacy Act, 2019 and/or other penal laws of Uganda,”the notice reads in part.

UCC spokesperson Ibrahim Bbosa confirmed the arrest adding that UCC is currently searching for more suspects who are still at large.

Over the years, the regulator has been known for reigning on freedom of speech during moments of either crisis or democratic process, a human rights abuse upheld in the past with recent being the 2017 ban and suspension of live coverage of parliament during the chaotic constitutional amendment parliamentary debate.

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