Although the Internet provides unrestricted platforms for expression and speech to millions of citizens, its freedoms are continuously being eroded, a new study has revealed.
The report titled “The Internet: They are coming for it too,” indicates that human rights and anti-corruption activists and journalists risk arbitrary arrest, intimidation, threats and politically motivated criminal charges for expressing their views on the Internet deemed too critical by authorities.
“Other than the Internet, many of the expression platform commonly used by activists have been closed down while others are being closely monitored,” reads the report in part.
The report, which was carried out between last November and this month, was released by the Unwanted Witness-Uganda, a rights body yesterday.
Speaking at the commemoration of the Internet Freedom Day, Mr Wokulira Ssebaggala, the chief executive officer of the rights organisation, said Uganda seeks to obstruct and control the enjoyments of these rights and freedoms. “It irritates to witness the diminishing of the enjoyments of human rights in Uganda. Offline rights and freedoms are the causality of the day, including assembly, expression and association having been excessively limited and now internet freedoms are being targeted,” he added.
However, Ms Rose Namayanja, the Minister of Information and National Guidance, dismissed the findings, saying the allegations raised were baseless. “As government, we are also concerned about the misuse of internet like posting nude photographs. As people express their freedom, one must know that it does not injure morality and security of the country,” Ms Namayanja said.
However, the minister declined to divulge into the details, saying she needed to read and internalise the report before giving more comments.