‘State of Digital Rights and Internet Governance in Uganda’ report dissemination in Greater Masaka

Online Spying Threatening Users

The continued arrests and harassment of Ugandans over comments made on the different social media platforms is increasingly worrying the people of Masaka especially those who use the internet to disseminate information.

There is also a growing concern over the lack of laws that regulate the extent to which state actors can use spyware and surveillance technologies to intercept communications online especially in public places such as hotels.

The concerns have been raised by participants at one-day report dissemination titled; ‘The State of Digital Rights and Internet Governance organized by the Unwanted Witness Uganda in partnership with Digital Human Rights Lab and GIZ. The users argue that although government has put in place laws curtailing the misuse of internet, it has done little to ensure the safety of the internet users.

Like in the West Nile and Rwenzori sub-regions, the people of Masaka have also expressed concern over the high cost and slow internet speed, urging the government to reduce the cost of the internet while increasing connectivity in order to make it affordable and accessible to all Ugandans.

In his opening remarks, the outgoing Mayor Masaka City Godfrey Kayemba described the report as timely urging the incoming leaders of Masaka city to integrate internet and e-Communication into the planning strategies for the city to enable the city to grow at a fast rate.

“We need Digital Centres to be able to communicate to the business community as well as other development partners” Kayemba.

Mayor Kayemba appeals for continuous engagement with the communities as a way of raising awareness on the need to embrace technology in their daily activities.

The Chief Executive Office Unwanted Witness Dorothy Mukasa emphasized the importance of expanding internet connectivity as well as the internet speed across the country before government thinks of taxing internet data.  Ms. Dorothy adds that Uganda is one of the East African Countries with the high cost of the internet yet with slow internet speed.

Presenting the findings of the report on the state of digital rights and internet governance to the people in the greater Masaka, Ms. Vivienne Nattabi the research and investigations lead, Unwanted Witness, informed the people of Masaka that the majority of the people interviewed during the collection of data were not aware of their Digital rights, while others were concerned about the OTT, and increased circulation of fake news on social media.