A proposed anti-pornography law could see journalists and Internet service providers jailed for terms ranging from five to 10 years and their businesses closed, Ethics Minister James Nsaba Buturo said yesterday.
Mr Buturo said pornography, which he described as “a terrible vice,” was growing in the country but the laws against it were too weak. He said the new law, which extensively expands the definition of pornographic material and the accompanying sanctions, will help rein in offenders.
“Those who deal in pornographic materials, your days are numbered,” Mr Buturo said.
“We have finally acted and this time, this law will work because our integrity is not for sale,” he told journalists in Kampala. The Bill, he said also provides for fines.
He emphasised that pornography is “evil and makes the mind receptive to other vices such as homosexuality”.
The current legal provisions on pornography prohibit obscene publications but Mr Buturo says this law is incomprehensive. ‘The issue of pornography transcends publications and includes communication, speech, entertainment, stage play, broadcast, music, dance, art, fashion, motion picture and audio recording.’
Under the proposed Bill, pornography is defined as any form of communication from literature to fashion or photography that depicts unclothed or under-clothed parts of the human body (such as breasts, thighs, buttocks or genitalia), that narrates or depicts sexual intercourse or that describes or exhibits anything that can lead to erotic stimulation.
According to the proposed Bill, pornography includes ‘fashion’, implying that women could be arrested for wearing short skirts and skimpy dresses. Mr Buturo said children should also be protected from pornographic materials.
“An increase in pornographic materials in the Ugandan mass media and nude dancing in entertainment world calls for long legal framework to regulate such vices,” he said.
Only teaching aides, spouses and sportsmen will get exemptions of punishment from the new law.
However, analysts say the flaws of the proposed law, lies in the broad definition of pornography.