Uganda: Govt Warns Ugandans Against Spreading Fake News, Culprits to be Prosecuted

By :
AT Reporter

KAMPALA – Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has vowed to crack down on computer misuse, saying those found guilty risk criminal prosecution.

Speaking during the democracy day debate celebrations held at Sheraton Kampala Hotel on Thursday, October 1, UCC’s head of legal and compliance, Abudu Sallam Waiswa, said that prior to sharing or sending out information that one was not sure about, its authenticity needed to be verified through a fact checker.

“We have a fact checker facility that is available on the UCC website for any member of the public who wants to verify information about anything that has been broadcast and shared online,” Waiswa said.

He revealed that under the Computer Misuse Act 2011, the Data Protection and Privacy Act as well as other Penal laws of Uganda, if any one forwards anything using his or her phone, then that person becomes the author and creator of that content.

“If the information turns out to be fake, false or offensive, and the person offended complains to UCC or the Police, you will be traced, identified, and prosecuted for offensive communication,” he said, adding that, “this could also amount to cyber stalking and fraud, among others.”

Organized by the Embassy of Sweden, together with the European Union delegation in Uganda, the seminar’s focus was premised on how governments and citizens interact to strengthen democracy.

Per Lindgarde, the Swedish ambassador to Uganda, said the emergence of Internet and social media have altered media coverage, perception and the way information is disseminated and consumed.

With emphasis, he said that transparency and access to reliable and accurate information, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and election period was paramount.

“Democracy is declining globally and opportunities for citizens’ participation in decision making are weakening. Since this trend is compounded by COVID-19, we must ensure that actions to combat the pandemic do not undermine democracy or its institutions,” Lindgarde said, adding that, “it is important to raise the bar and expect more from the media, government and public in terms of reliable, accurate and responsible communication.”

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