With a few hours to swearing in of the Ugandan Presidential elect, Social Media (Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp) has been blocked. Ugandan Telecoms posted on their Social Media channels defending their position as having been directed UCC the governing body and also in line the Uganda Communications Act. MTN Uganda is quoted saying:
In line with the requirement of its license specifically article 7.4 that requires MTN to provide assistance to government in the event of an emergency or crisis related to National Security, the Uganda Communications Commission has issued a directive to shut down all social media platforms immediately until otherwise advised by government. UCC and other competent government agencies will provide further clarity on the reasons for this directive.Advertisement - Continue reading below
We checked UCC Social Media channels and website and found no official communication regarding the directive. Some social media accounts needed to quickly buy Instagram views for their accounts after the blackout.
This isn’t the first time that this is happening. During the recently concluded February elections, Social Media and Mobile Money were switched off amidst cries by the general public of the restrictions of their fundamental freedoms.
- Ugandans use several apps and tricks to access blocked Whatsapp, Twitter and Facebook
- Uganda seeks to curb Freedom of Speech on Social Media with The Uganda Communications Amendment Bill 2016
- UCC releases a statement on the 2016 election social media blackout
- The Hashtag Revolution: Ugandans Connect and Network on Twitter using hashtags
At the time, Ugandans got innovative, switching to VPNs and proxies to access the internet. Ironically, after the blockade, Ugandans are said to have been more active on Social Media than before.
Airtel Uganda also issued a statement and apologised for the inconveniences caused to its customers. Thankfully Mobile Money is still on and is expected to stay on.
Africell, SMILE, Vodafone, Smart and other ISPs have not yet issued any statement to that effect but users confirm that most networks have heeded to UCC’s directive. By the time of writing this article, Smart Telecom users confirmed that they were still connected.
Image: The Conversation