The Computer Misuse Act, which seeks to prevent unlawful access, abuse or misuse of information systems through computers and electronic devices such as mobile phones, was enacted by the Parliament of Uganda in 2011. The Computer Misuse Act threatens freedom of expression and other digital rights in Uganda and must be amended to allow the media to operate freely and without fear of prosecution. The Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-U) views the passage of this law as an indication of Uganda’s deteriorating democracy, which has allowed a myriad of bad legislation, aimed at enhancing excessive government control over the media and wider civil society, to be passed. HRNJ-U aims to protect and promote free expression and human rights in Uganda, and has committed its energies to promote an open and free society built on the principles of free expression, equal participation, justice and good governance.
HRNJ-U recognises media as the basis for a strong and sustainable democracy and, in support of its mission to defend journalists and agitate for a free and open media environment in Uganda, is working to analyse and reform the restrictive Computer Misuse Act. The project is cognizant of HRNJ’s mandate to defend journalists and agitate for a free and open environment for the media in Uganda. HRNJ-U is therefore using the Web We Want capacity building grant to perform a clause by clause analysis of the law to highlight those sections that diminish online freedoms and to disseminate these findings in order to build a critical mass fighting for the law to be reformed.