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Museveni Government: We're Willing to Order Blackouts on Facebook, Tweeter

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, April 21 2011

Source: Alan Kasujja

With price protests raging, Uganda's telecom authority is telling Reporters Without Borders that they're ready to order the shutdown of Facebook and Twitter:

[Uganda Communications Commission] executive director Godfrey Mutabazi told Reuters yesterday that he was ready to give fresh orders to block Facebook and Twitter locally if they were used “to fan unrest.” The day before, thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the arrests of opposition leader Kizza Besigye and other demonstrators, who were accused of inciting violence.

Reached by telephone, Mutabazi told Reporters Without Borders he would cut off access to Facebook and Twitter only if it had to be done to protect the public. He said his statements should be seen as an appeal to Ugandans to be take care not to use social networks to issue calls for hatred or violence. “The freedom to live is more important than the freedom to express oneself,” he added.

There'd been some confusion over there legitimacy of a letter floating around last week (above) that ordered ISPs to block "Facebook and Tweeter," but the commission is confirming that they're willing to take that step. But there's no saying that Uganda's ISPs would comply with a government order. Some of them seem to have shrugged off the April 14th letter. (via Jen Vento)

Not to make light of a bad situation, but maybe the Museveni government can be persuaded to be satisfied with, indeed, taking down Tweeter.

Correction: I'd had references to Mugabe and Uganda in an earlier draft of this post. And here's me, whose undergrad and grad school work focused on Africa. Embarassed apologies. And thanks to Rob Cottingham for catching it.