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Online media owners ask members of parliament to review new cyber law

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  The Independent Online Journalists Association Uganda INDOJA U has called for a review of the Computer Misuse Amendment Bill The bill proposed by the member of the central parliament of Kampala the Hon Muhammad Nsereko among other things prohibits the sharing of any information related to a child without the authorization of a parent or guardian the sending or sharing of information that promotes hate speech and provides for the prohibition of sending or sharing false information malicious and unsolicited among others The Association of Independent Online Journalists now wants the Information and Communications Technology ICT committee to review the bill which they say inhibits free speech and freedom of expression Appearing before the ICT Committee on Tuesday August 09 2022 which was chaired by the Hon Nathan Nabeta Igeme President of the Association Andrew Irumba Katusabe said that most of the problems that the bill seeks to address are already addressed in other laws such as provisions that duplicate the Privacy and Data Protection Law the Law of the Penal Code the Interception of the Communications Law which if suppressed leaves the bill empty He said that the proposal that establishes that a person who without authorization accesses or intercepts any program or data of another person or records the voice or video of another person shares any information about another person commits a crime that limits the investigation reports investigation and holds people accountable I m a journalist if I m investigating someone for allegations of corruption which in most cases is done stealthily and the law says I have to get their permission first is it still investigative journalism Irumba asked Irumba also added that as journalists they self regulate but also the various online platforms such as Twitter Facebook among others have efficient systems to verify fake news crimes and hate speech among others which has resulted in the removal of some accounts Joel Mucunguzi the association s legal adviser said the Nsereko bill should have looked at regulating cyber flashes where obscene images are sent to strangers online cyber stalking and revenge porn and not work to paralyze freedom of expression AUDIO Mucunguzi He said that the bill takes away the power of writers journalists to express themselves and yet or these are fundamental when it comes to freedom of expression They could amend and repeal those provisions especially in relation to freedom of expression the idea is that they should at least do better benchmarking by looking at different cybercrimes in other countries and borrowing them rather than creating different crimes he says Hon Bashir Kazibwe Member of Parliament for Kawempe South tasked members of the online association to explain how they ensure their members meet minimum standards AUDIO Kazibwe Ibanda District Female MP H E Jane Bainomugisha said the rate at which people are being harassed is alarming Nabeta the chairman of the committee asked online media owners to write a detailed statement about their objections to the new bill She says for example that a man s or woman s posting in the news or on social media should be regulated because of an ailment she has Nabeta the chairman of the committee asked online media owners to write a detailed statement to a committee regarding their objections to the new bill He says the committee will continue to talk to various stakeholders before it can report on the proposal
Online media owners ask members of parliament to review new cyber law

1 The Independent Online Journalists Association-Uganda (INDOJA-U) has called for a review of the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill. The bill proposed by the member of the central parliament of Kampala, the Hon. Muhammad Nsereko, among other things, prohibits the sharing of any information related to a child without the authorization of a parent or guardian, the sending or sharing of information that promotes hate speech, and provides for the prohibition of sending or sharing false information, malicious and unsolicited, among others.

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3 The Association of Independent Online Journalists now wants the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) committee to review the bill which they say inhibits free speech and freedom of expression.

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4 Appearing before the ICT Committee on Tuesday, August 09, 2022, which was chaired by the Hon. Nathan Nabeta Igeme, President of the Association, Andrew Irumba Katusabe, said that most of the problems that the bill seeks to address are already addressed in other laws, such as provisions that duplicate the Privacy and Data Protection Law, the Law of the Penal Code, the Interception of the Communications Law, which if suppressed leaves the bill empty.

5 He said that the proposal that establishes that a person who without authorization accesses or intercepts any program or data of another person or records the voice or video of another person, shares any information about another person commits a crime that limits the investigation, reports investigation and holds people accountable.

6 “I’m a journalist; if I’m investigating someone for allegations of corruption, which in most cases is done stealthily and the law says I have to get their permission first, is it still investigative journalism?” Irumba asked.

7 Irumba also added that, as journalists, they self-regulate, but also the various online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, among others, have efficient systems to verify fake news, crimes, and hate speech, among others, which has resulted in the removal of some accounts Joel Mucunguzi, the association’s legal adviser, said the Nsereko bill should have looked at regulating cyber flashes where obscene images are sent to strangers online, cyber stalking and revenge porn and not work to paralyze freedom of expression AUDIO Mucunguzi He said that the bill takes away the power of writers, journalists to express themselves and yet or these are fundamental when it comes to freedom of expression.

8 “They could amend and repeal those provisions especially in relation to freedom of expression; the idea is that they should at least do better benchmarking by looking at different cybercrimes in other countries and borrowing them, rather than creating different crimes,” he says.

9 Hon. Bashir Kazibwe, Member of Parliament for Kawempe South, tasked members of the online association to explain how they ensure their members meet minimum standards.

10 AUDIO Kazibwe Ibanda District Female MP, H.E. Jane Bainomugisha said the rate at which people are being harassed is alarming.

11 Nabeta, the chairman of the committee, asked online media owners to write a detailed statement about their objections to the new bill.

12 She says, for example, that a man’s or woman’s posting in the news or on social media should be regulated because of an ailment she has.

13 Nabeta, the chairman of the committee, asked online media owners to write a detailed statement to a committee regarding their objections to the new bill.

14 He says the committee will continue to talk to various stakeholders before it can report on the proposal.

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