Nine Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and 5 individuals have petitioned the Constitutional Court in Kampala challenging the computer misuse law saying it infringes on the freedom of speech and expression.
The petitioners are journalists’ associations and rights bodies including Human Rights Network for Journalists, The African Centre for Media Excellence, The Uganda Parliamentary Press Association, The Editors’ Guild and The Centre for Public Interest Law among others. The individual petitioners are; former leader of opposition, Winnie Kiiza, journalists Agather Atuhaire and Ronald Muhindo, and lawyers.
The group argues that the law was passed in bad faith mainly to target government critics and also to silence the public from speaking out on pressing issues.
In the said petition lodged today at the Constitutional Court, the petitioners contend that they were not consulted during a crucial stage of forming this law, and hence many things that touch at the core of journalism as a profession and trade are affected by this law.
They also argue that the law shrinks political mobilization and civic space and hence heated debates regarding the same online can be frustrated by the said law.
The petitioners want court to annul the entire law whose sections relate to frustrating media freedom and expression.
However, since the Constitutional Court takes a while to fix petitions for hearing, the petitioners shall also file an application seeking to temporarily halt the enforcement of this law.