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ICT Minister -The State Must Police Cyber Space

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Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebagala from Unwanted Witness, says government must put in place guidelines on social media management. credibility, accuracy and accountability have been eroded.
ICT minister Frank Tumwebaze and POLICE PRO Andrew Felix Kaweesi

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Government says its mandate to monitor the internet is justified for security reasons.

Frank Tumwebaze, the Information, Communication and Technology and National Guidance Minister, says the evolution of cyber space has left it vulnerable to abuse and eroded traditional ethical values of publishing information.

Tumwebaze says it is government's duty to nip in the bud any influence that will negatively influence society's mindsets through propagating hate speech, pornography and violent content.

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He was giving a keynote address at the 3rd edition of the Press Plenary, organized by Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (UPPA), under the theme; "Policing The Internet: Finding A Balance Between Safety and Human Freedoms".

Statistics from Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) indicate that there are 16.7 million people who access the internet in the Uganda.

Fred Otunnu, the UCC Director for Communication justified the social media shut down during the 2016 elections, citing a likelihood of gross misuse of the platforms during the political period.

Otunnu says cyber space was previously unregulated, which gave way to its abuse to propagate cyber-crimes, including terrorism.

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However, Nicholas Opiyo, the Executive Director of Chapter Four, a human rights organization, says government has failed in its role to track down perpetrators of cyber space crime and resorted to blanket solutions that affect innocent Ugandans.

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Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebagala from Unwanted Witness, says government must put in place guidelines on social media management.   

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However, Tumwebaze says there are cyber laws in place to regulate misuse of social media, including the Anti-Pornography Act and Computer Misuse Act.

Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, Per Lingarde says freedom of expression is a fundamental right and pre-requisite for other freedoms and rights to flourish.