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Journalist group slams Uganda over social media blackout

13 May 2016, 20:45

Kampala - The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has criticised Uganda over social media shutdown on Thursday, during President Yoweri Museveni's inauguration.

Ugandans found themselves in a social media blackout after the country's communication regulator on Wednesday instructed service providers to shut down social media ahead of Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony.

Access to popular social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook and messaging service WhatsApp was blocked.  

In several text messages sent to customers, service providers said they had been directed to disable all social media support until Thursday evening for security purposes.

The Ugandan government defended the move, saying that it was meant to to limit the possibility of "terrorists" taking advantage of foreign leaders in the country.

But CPJ rubbished the government’s reason, saying: "The government's citing fears of terrorism as a pretext for blocking social media is a threadbare argument that will convince no one."

"Social media platforms are a vital form of news dissemination. The authorities know this. That's why they are censoring them yet again," CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said in a statement.

This was the second time in less than three months that the government had censored the platforms.

- News24


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