Madrid, 12 single. (Europe Press) –
The Ugandan government blocked access to social networks across the country on Tuesday, a decision that comes two days before the presidential election.
“The government has shut down social networks,” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said in a televised address. “It is a pity, but it is inevitable,” he added.
The president linked the closure to Facebook’s decision to withdraw a series of government-linked accounts that participated in a disinformation campaign to influence “public debate” in the face of the elections. The company stated on Monday that the campaign in question “is linked to the Citizen Engagement Center of the Ugandan Ministry of Information.”
“Uganda is ours. It does not belong to anyone (…) There is no way anyone can come and play with our country to decide who is good and who is bad,” the DPA news agency quoted him as saying.
Thus, the Uganda Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has ordered Internet service providers to shut down access to social networks and messaging apps, including Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, WhatsApp, Signal or Viber.
Specifically, in a letter compiled by the Ugandan daily The Daily Monitor, the head of the authority, Irene Siwankampo, ordered telecom companies to “immediately suspend any access and use” of social networks and messaging applications.
For its part, Twitter echoed the situation through its own social network, in a series of messages in which it “strongly” condemned the Internet closures, which it described as “severe harmful”, and who said they “violate.” Basic human rights. “
The company had indicated that it had, earlier in the week, in coordination with its partners, suspended a series of accounts intended to influence the Ugandan elections. He concluded that “access to information and freedom of expression, including public conversations on Twitter, has become more important than ever during democratic processes, especially elections.”
During the day, Ugandan users denounced the Facebook ban and indicated that they could only access the social network through the use of a VPN, as I compiled the above-mentioned medium. The government recently asked telecommunications companies to block access to YouTube and Google PlayStore, among other sites.
The elections will take place in a particularly tense context due to increased repression against the opposition and the killing of more than 50 people in November due to the action of security forces against protesters after the arrest of the main opposition candidate, Robert Kyagolani. , During the campaign event.
Kyagulani will be the main contender for the incumbent president who has led the country since 1986 and will try to achieve a sixth term after a series of constitutional amendments so that he can go to the polls.