Yesterday, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) issued a statement that they would need to obtain persons who are operating online and publishing content online. That is not only blogs, but video and media in general. This is if you are on social media or just a blogger. Everyone in the Republic must be authorized and registered as such to be regulated by the UCC.
This is happening in the short span of the Over-The-Top Taxes, the Social Media Tax, the 200 shillings of doom. The state continues their crackdown and wanting to monitor and control the publications, the content online. This is a deliberate effort to know about who is behind the online media and who is posting online content.
That is happening, while the state combined with their institutions are gearing up for a “Scientific” election in 2021. As the campaigns, the electorate and the political operatives must use either online outlets or print media. If not broadcasting either on-air og on television.
So, it’s not shocking that the UCC does this. Just like it did the Sim-Registration drive as well. They are suddenly acting swift in the name of the authorities to ensure they can have access and control of a certain part of the public space.
It is just interesting that they need this now. Just as the Electoral Commission and everyone else is gearing up for the various of flag-bearers and candidates. That they need to access these places, knowing about the news publications on Facebook, the ones dropping teasers on Instagram and the verified accounts on Twitter. Because, that is suddenly important now. So, they can deem your ass fit or not.
They will likely try to crash down on the media houses, the outlets and the publications who are deliberately spreading bad news for the regime. The ones who like TVO style and hurt the pride of Muhoozi and Bosco. That is just life, I suppose and how narrow minded the regime is at this point.
The OTT Tax and Social Media Tax is just a proof of how far the state will go. That is already limiting the space online and the amount of content. With this, the people will be even more limited and the ones who has their own platforms and uses it. Has to register and maybe will be revoked. Even if they have paid a third-party, have agreements and payment-plans for their operations. Still, the UCC can and will stop you from doing so.
The state has pushed for digital and online campaigns, but these sorts of actions speaks another tone. Seemingly, the only one allowed in the end is the “NRM Friendly Press” and “Associates of the Online Brigade”. The NRM SOMA and outreaches of Uganda Media Centre are allowed to operate, the ones like Ashburg and other content creators. While the rest are blocked or lost their privileges by the state. I don’t believe the UCC does this to be kind and keep a registry for “fun”. No, this is not that sort of business and the UCC isn’t a friendly uncle, but a tool for limiting the freedom of expression.
The ones who differs, be your guest, but don’t be shocked if someone loses their livelihoods and their platform. Because, they are voices of dissidents and the opposition. The ones who dares to speak against the President and his Party. They are all under fire by this. The NRM operatives will move along and get even more space. However, the others will be in trouble…
This is a crackdown; we just don’t know to what extent. The UCC will claim and say otherwise, but we all know the drill. Peace.