Press Release — Uganda: HRF Condemns Social Media Blackout Ahead of Presidential Inauguration
Human Rights Foundation (HRF) condemns the Uganda Communication Commission’s (UCC) order blocking access to major social media platforms ahead of President Yoweri Museveni’s controversial fifth term inauguration. According to news reports, social networks and messaging services such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp were blocked by local telecommunication companies based on a “directive” issued by the UCC. Last February, authorities imposed a similar social media blackout during Uganda’s unfree and unfair presidential elections as a temporary measure to, in President Museveni’s words, stop people from “creating trouble” and “telling lies.”
“The arbitrary shutdown of every major social media platform is a thuggish measure consistent with General Museveni’s 30-year-old authoritarian rule. It’s the unfortunate but fitting preamble to another term of complete disregard for the rule of law,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF. “After taking power in a 1986 military coup, Museveni quickly stacked the country’s voting commission with his henchmen and has rigged every election since. After abolishing presidential term limits in 2005, Museveni seems intent on ruling for life,” added Halvorssen.
Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.