The Ugandan government has defended the newly formulated controversial Computer Misuse Act as one meant to regulate social media abuse.
A group of activists recently challenged the new law before the Constitutional Court arguing that it violates the Ugandan constitution and the right to freedom of expression.
However, in response, the Attorney General says that the process of conceptualizing, consulting debating and passing of the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill was done in accordance with the law.
“In passing the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Act, 2022, consideration was premised on the need to enhance the enjoyment of the right to privacy which is being affected by the abuse of online and social media platforms through unauthorized access, sharing of unsolicited, malicious, hateful and unwarranted information and to further address,” an affidavit sworn by Adolf Mwesigye, the Clerk to Parliament reads in part.
“Members of Parliament debated the advancement of technology especially computer-generated technology and noted that the internet had become a platform for misuse and abuse which called for the strengthening of the existing legal framework.”
According to government, in debating and later passing of the controversial law, MPs appreciated the need to strengthen and protect the right to privacy of children in the digital age in their best interest, due to the increased abuse of their rights.
The Attorney General says parliament passed the new law in a bid to provide regulation for social media which had become a platform for misuse.
“Members of Parliament in enacting the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Act 2022, analyzed the regulation of hate speech in various jurisdictions and found that statutory limitation of hate speech is permissible in order to protect the community interest.”
“Members of Parliament also appreciated the advancement in information technology which now offers users a massive range of new products and services which are being abused by users through illegitimate unsolicited messages and there was no existing legal framework to regulate the same.”
The Attorney General says the Constitutional Court ought to dismiss the petition by activists challenging the Computer Misuse Act since it is misconceived and has no merit.