Last week, some men in the Old Taxi Park in Kampala took it upon themselves to effect the newly enacted Anti-Pornography Act. They tore up a woman’s skirt, leaving her naked, as other men cheered on. Someone even took a picture of the incident and posted it on social media site. The men believed that this woman had broken the law by wearing a skirt that went above her knees, exposing a bit of her thighs.
That is just one incident but there have been two others just like it, where women have been undressed in downtown Kampala because of the Anti-Pornography Act 2014.
This behaviour goes to show how dangerous it is for a law to be misunderstood by the general masses. And in this case, the blame does not solely fall on the masses or even on the people who crafted the law.
The media has also been remiss in its duty to properly explain the nitty gritty of the Act. Nowhere in the 19 pages of the Act is the word miniskirt mentioned, yet it has been dubbed the anti-miniskirt law by some.
What the law does prohibit, however, is pornography which it defines as “any representation through publication, exhibition, cinematography, indecent show, information technology or by whatever means, of a person engaged in real or stimulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a person for primarily sexual excitement.”
This description does not dictate general dress code. But it does guide things like the type of pictures the media publishes, the type of videos you download from the internet and the type of entertainment places like night clubs and bars have to offer.
For now, the misconception about the Anti-Pornography Act is still out there and it is up to us to correct it. It is even a bigger lesson to lawmakers on the importance of explaining a proposed law in detail before passing it.