The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has issued a notice informing the public that starting April 2, they shall begin enforcing laws against people/organisations that provide services which involve any content shared by way of data, video, sound, still pictures or a combination of all of them.
In the communication dated March 6, the regulator says people undertaking such service shall need to be authorised by UCC or else they will clamp down hard on them.
“All online data communication service providers including online publishers, online news platforms, online radio and television operators are therefore advised to apply and obtain authorisation from the commission with immediate effect,” read part of the statement.
It adds that content “is defined to include any sound, text, still picture, moving picture or other audio visual representation…”
Media and communication analysts told The Nile Post that UCC’s definition of content is broad and could include personal blogs, YouTube channels and Facebook Live.
“What this means is that you cannot put your video content online without authorisation by UCC or a personal blog. This is suppression of freedom of expression,” one analyst said.
On social media platforms, people lashed out at the notice and its implication.
“This country is bad for creatives! If only they knew that in the UK, the Creative Economy contributes 5% to their GDP and mostly rides on the back of Internet penetration…,” wrote Moses Serugo, a veteran journalist.
Of recent, private individuals have opened YouTube channels and blogs thanks to the advancements in social media and technology.
Some of these channels have become extremely popular and have gathered a sizeable following.