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Asia and the Pacific
Western Asia

Uganda - January 2023

Constitutional court strikes down law curtailing free speech

On 10 January Uganda’s Constitutional Court struck down a section of a law that rights groups say has been repeatedly abused by authorities to silence government critics, including journalists and activists. In vague and broad terms, section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act criminalised ‘Offensive Communication,’ which it defined as the use of electronic communication to ‘disturb the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person with no purpose of legitimate communication.’ In a unanimous judgment, the Court found the provisions to be unconstitutional, ruling that they unjustifiably curtailed the right to freedom of expression. Rights groups have welcomed the ruling but caution that free speech in Uganda continues to be threatened by other provisions within the Act, including amendments made in October 2022.  

Sources: Constitutional Court Judgement, Computer Misuse Act, Monitor, Committee to Protect Journalists, Article 19

Rights positive Rights
Civil liberties
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of the Press