The government of Uganda has finally restored access to major social media sites after a full month with no access due to social media blackout towards, during and after elections.
“Internet and Social media services have been fully restored. We apologize for the inconveniences caused, but it was for the security of our country. Let’s be constructive, NOT destructive consumers/users of social media.” Said Peter Ogwang who is the State Minister for ICT and National Guidance.
Restrictions to social media access started on Saturday 9th January 2021 with restrictions being put on playing media on Facebook and Instagram and also restricting Google Play Store and Apple Store from installing new apps.
On 12th January just two days to the hotly contested elections, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Whatsapp were completely shut down in the country and users would only access them using third party applications called Virtual Private Network.
One day later on 13th January, the government through the digital media regulator Uganda Communications Commission – UCC instructed all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to shut down internet completely and access to the internet was shut down completely for 5 days from January 13th to January 18th.
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Access to internet was restored on 18th January two days after announcing Mr. Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni as the re-elected president for the 6th term in an election the opposition candidate described as sham and contested the results in courts of law.
Despite restoring internet, access to social media remained restricted until February 10th when the Minister of ICT Peter Ogwang announced that social media has been restored and people who have paid tax to access it (OTT Tax) can now access it without any problem.