According to some activists, Uganda’s new law regulating social media use signals further erosion of the nation’s digital rights and freedoms.
President Yoweri Museveni approved the Computer Misuse Amendment Act on Thursday.
According to Edrine Wanyama, a legal officer with Cipesa, a regional organization that supports the use of ICT for development, the legislation will affect access to information and accountability. She continued that it might also result in more people being persecuted and prosecuted.
Several campaigners are currently considering challenging the law.
According to the new rule, those who publish, distribute, or circulate illegal content 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.