Uganda Civil Aviation Authority’s move to revitalise the ban on taking of videos , photos at Entebbe Airport has attracted public uproars with a large section of people on social media platforms describing it as a shameful ploy to hide mischief witnessed in the recent past.
In a notice that is making rounds on social media, members of the public are warned on consequences of going against the rule.
“Capturing videos and taking photos is prohibited,” the notice by UCAA management reads in part.
However, the notice has led to a public uproar on social media, with many blasting UCAA and accusing it of double standards.
“Airports aren’t security Installations but public spaces. Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, the airport isn’t your private homes. Which law shall yo u discharge to any caught taking pics? I hope u don’t abuse officers to illegally manhandle travelers. I can see another International mischief in the making,” Lubaga Resident City Commissioner, Anderson Burora tweeted.
Several other social media users shared similar sentiments.
“This is wrong. Some of the people who take these pictures and videos use them to promote Uganda. Let Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and other agencies at the airport just improve their services,” one Jonah Ruhima commented.
Many other social media users questioned the motive behind the notice that comes at a time when the airport has been embroiled in a scandal involving extortion from passengers and the UCAA management urged the public to record evidence in form of photos and videos to pin culprits.
“You are in a middle of a corruption scandal and this is your solution? Really? Do some of these managers think about this stuff before implementation? So the country’s image can’t be “sold” because someone is suppressing corruption,” lawyer Kalule Ahmed Mukasa wondered.
However, some social media users defended UCAA saying that at some international airports, taking photos and recording of videos are not allowed.
For example one commentator said he was at one time cautioned by security after using his phone to take a selfie after arriving at Ambouli International Airport in Djibouti.
“Out of nowhere a security operative held my hand and let me know that it was not allowed to take pictures at the airport,” the commentator said.
Senior travel writer, Michael Wakabi blamed authorities for inconsistence in the application of the country’s laws.
“ These laws might be there but why not apply them consistently? Either the enforcers don’t believe in them or they have lost relevance. Now, it’s inevitable that UCAA’s reminder that restrictions exist will be judged against the recent exposes of graft at the facility,” Wakabi said.
Commenting about the matter, the Uganda Civil Aviation spokesperson, Vianney Luggya defended the notice.
“This is not new and should not be misconceived. It has always been illegal to take pictures or videos in restricted areas of the airport’s terminal building without getting prior permission. Even journalists who access the terminal building for official coverage of activities first go through a formal clearance process before they can be allowed to take photos and videos of specific areas or activities,” Luggya said.
The development comes a few weeks after members of the public used social media to expose staff at Uganda’s only airport extorting money from passengers.
In the expose in form of videos and photos, several members of the public reported to have fallen victim to the corruption at the country’s only international airport.
In response to the uproar by the public a few weeks ago, authorities at Entebbe Airport banned use of mobile phones by staff but also asked members of the public to use their phones to capture videos and photos to expose culprits involved in extortion.
However, the shameful exposure on social media has seen more vigilance at the airport by staff.