The communications authorities in Uganda have ordered internet service providers to shut down messaging and social media services few two days before the country’s presidential election.
In a letter shared with news agencies recently, the Executive Director of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Irene Sewankambo directed telecommunications companies to “immediately suspend any access and use” of social media and online messaging platforms.
An industry insider who talked to AFP news agency under the condition of anonymity revealed that the directive was first communicated in “nasty and aggressive” phone calls to the telecommunications companies and the calls made it clear the order given in retaliation for Facebook’s removal of pro-government accounts as the country coints down to the key election.
The banned social media sites are Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Signal and Viber.
According to the insider, UCC distributed a list of more than 100 virtual private networks to internet service providers with orders to block them.
While talking to AFP, UCC spokesman, Ibrahim Bbosa said: “I am not aware of a directive to switch off internet or social media platforms.”
“There has been slow connectivity on the platforms which can be partly due to heavy traffic as a result of the forthcoming elections.”