Home BREAKING NEWS Outrage over social media blackout in Uganda just days before elections

Outrage over social media blackout in Uganda just days before elections

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The Ugandan government has incurred outrage for shutting down the internet, just days to the presidential elections.

Ugandan communications regulator ordered service providers such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp to suspend access immediately.

The social media blackout has been widely condemned with the International Press Institute saying “any efforts to block online access to journalists or members of the public are unacceptable breaches of the right to information.”

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“Ahead of the Ugandan election, we’re hearing reports that Internet service providers are being ordered to block social media and messaging apps,” Twitter Pubic Policy tweeted. “We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet,” Twitter Public Policy wrote on Tuesday.

According to Quartz Africa, “Uganda’s Internet network is being slowed down and citizens without VPNs were not able to download apps from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.”

President Museveni has ruled Uganda since seizing power in 1986 and most Ugandan media outlets are owned by government. This combination has created suspicion that the internet blackout is an effort to silence the opposition, who relies on social media to communicate with their supporters.

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Kristi Pelzel
Kristi Pelzel
Kristi Pelzel is a Senior International Correspondent at Today News Africa, working across U.S. and African markets, based in Washington, D.C. Her expertise spans broadcast, digital, and social media communication, nested with policy research, analysis, and writing. A member of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Kristi holds a B.A. from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California, and an M.A. from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

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