Senegal: CPJ urges Uganda to restore access to social media sites

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - The Ugandan authorities should immediately restore access to social media websites and refrain from censoring any websites in the future, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has said.

In a statement made available to PANA in Dakar, Senegal, on Friday, the press freedom watchdog disclosed that Ugandan regulators blocked access to Twitter and Facebook, and to the messaging service WhatsApp on 12 May during the inauguration of President Yoweri Museveni. It is not clear on Friday whether the sites have been restored.

"The government's citing fears of terrorism as a pretext for blocking social media is a threadbare argument that will convince no one," remarked CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney.

"Social media platforms are a vital form of news dissemination. The authorities know this. That's why they are censoring them yet again."

CPJ said it was the second time in three months that Ugandan regulators have plunged the country into a state-enforced social media blackout as the government blocked access to social media websites during the 18 February elections as well.

"CPJ has tracked the shrinking space for free expression in Uganda, particularly following February's elections. Ugandan Minister of Information Jim Muhwezi on May 5 warned that any news outlet that reports on opposition protests risks being shut down," the statement noted.

It said Uganda's opposition Forum for Democratic Change, citing local and international observers, has alleged that the elections were marked by irregularities and should be held again.
-0- PANA MLJ/MA 13May2016

13 may 2016 14:09:26

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