Ugandans with ‘huge’ following on social media, including ‘influencers’ and other users with large commercialized online accounts, will have to ‘register’ their activities for ‘monitoring’ by the state, the country’s communication regulator has said.
The country’s communications regulator has also confirmed this move, which could target journalists, musicians, socialites, and even politicians, will attract a standard fee of $20 (about Sh2,000) and the process will assist towards ‘clampdown on immoral or prejudiced content’.
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) spokesperson Ibrahim Bbosa told the Daily Monitor the ‘data communicators’ to be registered include online accounts that carried ads and other content on the platform including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
This development comes a year after President Yoweri Museveni’s government introduced a daily social media levy of about Sh6 to tame ‘idle talk’ online and raise revenue.
Critics view this latest development as part of an escalating campaign by President Museveni to suppress online content that is deemed to be critical of him and his government.
Recently, university lecturer and activist Stella Nyanzi was jailed for 18-months on cyber harassment charges stemming from a Facebook post criticizing Museveni, who has ruled the country for the past three and a half decades.
Renowned pastor Joseph Kabuleta was also rounded up by the authorities but days later released without being charged following a Facebook post deemed critical to the First Family.
According to digital communications rights watchdog Unwanted Witness, between 2016 and 2018 at least 33 Ugandans have either been summoned and interrogated by police or charged with online communications offences.