A digital news organisation and a group of activists have challenged a new law in Uganda that could lead to jail time and fines for anyone who spreads false or misleading information online.
President Yoweri Museveni signed the Computer Misuse Amendment Act into law last week. However, the leader of the group Alternative DigiTalk has said that the law is illegal, against the constitution, and a violation of human rights in general.
Petitioners like Alternative DigiTalk claim that parliament should have consulted the public more extensively before implementing such sweeping changes to people’s digital rights and liberties.
Amnesty International, a human rights organisation, has said that the law will be used to stifle dissent and prevent people from speaking out.
However, proponents of the law claim it will mitigate online abuse and safeguard personal information.
Those found guilty of using social media to disseminate illegal content face up to five years in prison and/or a fine of 15 million Ugandan shillings ($3,900; £3,400).
Malicious content, hate speech, unwanted information, and the distribution of personal information about minors without parental consent all fall under this category.
If a leader or holder of public office is found guilty under the act, they will be removed from their position and banned from running for office again for 10 years.
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