KAMPALA/KIGALI – The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has asked Internet Service Providers to block access to several Rwandan-based news websites over allegations of promoting hate speech.
One of the websites facing closure belongs to Rwanda State-owned media house, the New Times.
Mr Ibrahim Bbosa, the UCC Public Relations Officer, is quoted by the New Times confirming the blockade.
“We wrote a letter to the operators instructing them to block the websites,” Mr Bbosa is quoted as saying on Wednesday.
He added that access was denied because the news websites were publishing content that was deemed ‘harmful and undermines the national security of Uganda’.
Mr Patrick Nyirishema, the Director-General of Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority, is quoted by NewTimes as saying that he has reached out to his Ugandan counterpart seeking clarification of the blockage.
“I have formally reached out to my counterpart to seek clarification on the blockage of some news sites which is not proper in the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by our leaders today (on Wednesday),” he said on Wednesday, August 22.
The move comes at the time the Heads of State from Uganda and Rwanda were in the Angolan capital Luanda, signing a pact to restore ties.
The pact was signed by Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni and was witnessed by their counterparts of Angola, DR Congo and Congo-Brazzaville.
Among the initial issues that strained the relations between the two countries was Uganda facilitating Rwandan dissidents and fugitives.
But in the pact signed on Wednesday, Uganda and Rwandan leaders agreed to respect each other’s sovereignty and of neighbouring countries, refrain from subversive activities in the territory of the other and eliminate all factors that may create such perception.
The leaders resolved to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of the nationals of either party residing or transiting in their national territories, in accordance with laws of their countries and desist from financing, training, and infiltration of destabilizing forces.