A group of six people including an NBS television journalist, have sued government for imposing a tax on social media.
A shs200 tax per day for social media users that was recently passed by parliament was effected on Sunday July,1 at the start of the 2018/2019 financial year causing uproar among the public.
On Monday six people including; Raymond Mujuni,a journalist, Daniel Bill Opio, Emmanuel Okiror, Moses Baguma, Silver Kayondo, a lawyer and the Cyber Law Initiative Limited petitioned the Constitutional Court in Kampala over the new tax suing the Attorney General,Uganda Communications Commission and Uganda Revenue Authority.
In their petition,the group says they are avid social media owners arguing that section 3(b) and 6(c) of the Excise Duty Act which imposes a shs200 tax per day contravenes the constitution.
“It makes accessing social media platforms a preserve of only the economically empowered and circumscribes social media use and access,”says the petitioners.
“The tax suffocates internet based or enabled businesses,budding entreprenuers,job searching,talent promotion,creativity and innovation which is an infringment and contravention of economic rights guaranteed by the constitution.”
The group contends that the new tax limits access to social media and in turn violates the right to freedom of expression,public participation ,political mobilization,peaceful assembly and unarmed demonstration.
They also contend that the new tax limits access to information and in turn contravenes the constitution.
The group in their petition say the new tax economically complicates and strangulates the online enjoyment of fundamental human rights that are not not hindered offline.
The group wants the Constitutional Court to issue orders that the tax is illegal abd unconstitutional and stop government from levying it from the members of the public.
“Court should order UCC to within six months from the date of judgment enact regulations for the OTT in a manner that guarantees free access,internet neutrality and open internet principles,”the group argues.