In an unexpected move, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has written to Google requesting the search giant to block all Ugandan YouTube channels that spread negative sentiments during elections. All of the YouTube channels that UCC wants to be blocked belong to opposition pundits.
UCC claims that these channels contain extremist or anarchic messages including messages likely to incite violence against sections of the public on account of their tribe and political opinions. The gov’t believes that these channels may compromise national security and cause economic sabotage.
The government through UCC has no control and cannot censor the content posted by YouTubers in Uganda and thus cannot regulate it or even block it. However, it wants the following channels blocked from YouTube;
- Ghetto TV
- Map Mediya
- Busesa Media Updates
- Uganda Empya
- KK TV Uganda
- Ekyooto TV
- Bobi Wine 2021
- Namungo Media
- JB Muwonge
The gov’t through UCC claims that these channels were used to mobilize the recent November riots that resulted in the loss of lives and property in Uganda. UCC recently requested all bloggers who broadcast on any social media channel to register with it, but this never made sense to most bloggers since UCC doesn’t control or have any powers to regulate the likes of Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
UCC also urged the search giant to stop aiding and abetting any further breach of regulatory and penal laws of Uganda through its communication platform. It also requested YouTube to revise YouTube operations to ensure that it is not used to circumvent the legal and regulatory requirements of the Ugandan republic.
In its letter to Google the commission also requested Google to ensure that all content broadcast to Uganda through YouTube applications and services strictly comply with Ugandan’s Minimum Broadcasting standards as enshrined in Uganda’s act.
Google’s YouTube policies on hate speech
Hate speech is not allowed on YouTube. The company removes content promoting violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on any of the following attributes:
- Gender Identity and Expression
- Immigration Status
- Sexual Orientation
- Victims of a major violent event and their kin
- Veteran Status
YouTube encourages anyone who finds any content on their platform that violates this policy, to quickly report it. Any content that encourages violence against individuals or groups based on any of the attributes noted above should be reported.
UCC will have to wait to YouTube to evaluate their complaint and respond to them appropriately at a future date.