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Press Release: Uganda -Blanket ban on social media on election day is disproportionate (18.02.2016)

VPN 18.02.2016 P2

ARTICLE 19 is deeply concerned by the decision by the Uganda Communications Commission to block access to social media while millions of Ugandans head to the polls on election day.

This morning, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) blocked social media sites. UCC’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Fred Otunnu cited “national security” and that the platforms were being “used to campaign on voting day”. He added that Uganda Electoral Commission had complained about alleged online campaigns that were continuing after 16 February, when all election campaigning was required to cease.

Henry Maina, Regional Director of ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa explained that “this ban on social media platforms is part of a number pervasive systemic measures by the government of Uganda to limit freedom of expression and access to information during the election period. Blanket bans on social media cannot be justified under international law and are wholly disproportionate.”

“At a time when the world’s gaze is on Uganda and the Presidential elections, we call on the Ugandan authorities to immediately revoke the blocking of social media and allow Ugandans to exercise their right to freedom of expression, as well as their right to participate in a free and open election process,” added Maina

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