President Yoweri Museveni has signed the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill, 2022 into law despite outcries from members of the public saying it impedes freedom of speech.
The bill, passed by Parliament, on September 8, 2022, was introduced by Kampala Central MP, Muhammad Nsereko, as a private member’s bill.
The new law provides for punitive measures against people who send malicious information, hate speech, unsolicited information and share information about children without the consent of their parents or guardians using computers (including phones).
The punishment for the convicted person is Shs15 million or a seven-year jail term, if not both.
It also criminalizes writing, sending or sharing of any information through a computer which is likely to ridicule, degrade or demean another person, group of persons, tribe and ethnicity, religion, or gender; create divisions among persons, a tribe, an ethnicity, a religion or gender; and or, promote hostility against a person, group of persons, a tribe, an ethnicity group, a religion or gender.
Other bills passed by Museveni into law include The Physical Planners’ Registration Act, 2022, The Kampala Capital City (Amendment) Act, 2022 and The Mining and Minerals Act, 2022.