UCC tells Kabuleta to retract anti-first family rant

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UCC spokesperson Ibrahim Bbosa

Ibrahim Bbosa, head of publicity at Uganda Communications Commission [UCC] has advised city Pastor Joseph Kabuleta to retract his rant from Facebook and Twitter platforms.

Bbosa was Monday giving his perspective on the new trend of hate speech and offensive communication on NBS television.

Host: What constitutes offensive communication?

Bbosa: Communication made over broadcast platforms is regulated. We have laws that regulate communication. As UCC, we are mandated to monitor, inspect, supervise and control content.

Bbosa said they allowed to set standards, especially for content. Things like hate speech, pornography, bullying are regulated domains.

“When you go aboard, the regulator will come in. The beauty of the regulator is that our actions are guided by a legal framework.”

He said information communicated on broadcast channels needs to be factual. What isn’t allowable offline shouldn’t be said online.

Host: Why do you have to invoke the law of computer misuse?

Bbosa: We are in a politically motivated environment and we’ve seen an increase in fake news. Many people are doing it for business gain.

He said they have also seen people who use the same to hoodwink people in the wrong direction.

“As a regulator, we want to make sure that platforms that have been put in place aren’t misused.”

“The law provides that you can seek redress for someone who attacks you online. Today, anonymity isn’t what it used to be. Back then, people used to commit a crime with a hidden identity. Today, when you do something online, your identity is known.”

Host: Is UCC shifting from the traditional space to crack their whip?

Bbosa: We are regulating, not cracking the whip. We currently don’t have a say in the Kabuleta case. However, he has an opportunity to retract his rant on the same platform. The commission is in support of that. And we have done it before.

Host: Is UCC hiding behind a bad law to deter people’s freedom of speech?

Bbosa: We are regulators of existing policies and law. In implementing the law, we are interested in people’s rights that aren’t in a position to defend themselves.

City lawyer Dennis Nyombi said he doesn’t agree with people abusing the president, but it’s okay to criticise him.

“He has been in the public eye for more than 30 years, people study and listen to him. The law doesn’t address the presidency, it addresses the president.”

A criminal defence attorney, Nyombi says freedom of expression in this county is slowing diminishing.

“It all started with media houses, now to individuals. We shall end up in a sorry state.”

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