By Moses Walubiri
Finding people in internet cafes, hunched on computers, furtively surfing pornographic content is not deemed shocking by majority of urbane Ugandans patronizing such places.
However, such depraved pastime might soon be rendered history as government moves to put in place structures to filter internet content deemed pornographic in its attempt to draw a line under a vice it considers “more addictive than alcohol.”
State minister of Ethics and Integrity, Fr. Simon Lokodo, told legislators on Presidential Affairs committee that the task will be done by an anti-pornographic committee in tandem with internet service providers.
Although Government has tentatively withdrawn the Anti-pornographic Act on account of a spate of attacks on women deemed skimpily dressed by rogue vigilantes, establishment of an apparatus to bar access to pornography seems to be a step towards the implementation of a law that has received as much plaudits as brickbats.
Outgoing Director Legal at the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity, Linda Tumusiime, said filtering internet pornographic material is informed by the “need to shield the nation from an insidious vice more addictive than alcohol.”
Many countries in the west are parting with a fortune trying to rehabilitate their citizens addicted to pornography. So, we can avoid suffering the same fate by shielding our people, especially the youths, from the ruinous effects of pornography,” Tumusiime said in response to queries raised by legislators Tom Aza and Ababiku Jessica about the possibility of curbing online pornography.
Lokodo revealed that a multiplicity of government agencies including the National Information Technology Authority will be involved making the policy shift ironclad.
The onerous task, if pulled off, will see Uganda join the ranks of oriental countries like South Korea, Malaysia and China where internet searches for pornographic content is strictly blocked by internet servers.
President Yoweri Museveni has always averred in his numerous interactions with young people that any country’s moral fabric is its bedrock and ounce compromised its future is grim.
The Anti-pornographic Act, according to Tumusiime, was largely informed by an insightful report of parliament which revealed the dangers pornography poses to the country.
Government claims that the new law against pornography is informed by the need to deal with “an insidious social problem,” it blames for a spike in “sexual crimes against women and children including rape, child molestation and incest.”
Following Museveni’s assent to the Bill early last month, however, the law has been vulgarized, with Ugandans labeling it ‘the anti mini-skirt law.’