(UCC) spokesman Ibrahim Bbosa [Photo: Dispatch – Uganda]

September 10th 2020 -Non-Governmental Human rights organization, Amnesty International, has told the Ugandan government to reverse its decision of charging its citizens for using their social media platforms.

The organization further said that the move is overly broad and ambiguous, and could potentially target anyone.

Earlier this week, the Ugandan government issued new directives to social media users, that requires them to get a license and pay fees, saying the move is aimed at censoring content, critical of the government ahead of the presidential elections.

Amnesty said the measure “will turn social media into (a)minefield, with users likely to find themselves on the wrong side of the law.” They added, “users may face prosecution simply for expressing their views.”

Other human rights groups have also asked the Uganda government to set aside such directives, as they are effectively criminalizing the right to freedom of expression online. They also termed the move to be politically motivated.

However, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) spokesman Ibrahim Bbosa, denied that the new directives were politically influenced and said it was to make sure all online communicators with large followings do not send out hate speech, and messages which are false or harmful to children.

In a notice, UCC said “that all users of social media and other online users engaged in “communication and broadcasting services must obtain a license by Oct 5th, 2020.” Previously, the communications commission said the new measures targeted heavily-followed individuals on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube.

To obtain a license, the Ugandan locals will have to pay an annual fee of $27.14 and accede to not post content likely to create public insecurity.

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