According to some campaigners, Uganda’s new law regulating social media use signals a further erosion of the nation’s digital rights and freedoms.
The Computer Misuse Amendment Act was approved by President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday.
The legislation will affect both access to information and accountability, according to Edrine Wanyama, a legal officer with Cipesa, a regional organization that supports the use of ICT for development. She continued that it might also result in more people being persecuted and prosecuted.
A number of activists are now looking into challenging the law.
According to the new rule, those who publish, distribute, or circulate content that is illegal under local law on social media risk up to five years in prison or a $3,900 (£3,500) fine.
For anyone found guilty of distributing hate speech, malicious information, or exchanging information about children without their parents’ or guardians’ permission it also adds heavy fines and jail terms.
Persons found guilty under the legislation are prohibited from holding public office for ten years, during which time the leader or incumbent will be removed.
The new law, according to its proponents, will aid in stopping online harassment and defending the right to privacy.
Several government critics have recently faced charges under a similar law, including university lecturer Dr. Stella Nyanzi and satirist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija.